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Trade bodies call for positive consideration of Waste-to-Energy in the EU Taxonomy

In a joint statement, nine EU-wide trade associations across various sectors call for positive consideration of Waste-to-Energy (WtE) in the EU Taxonomy. The statement underlines the contribution of Waste-to-Energy towards a sustainable Europe, thanks to its role in energy and material self-sufficiency, its complementarity with recycling and renewable energy, but also with other industries.

E.ON Sverige’s Högbytorp closed-loop waste recycling and energy recovery facility is built adjacent to a materials recycling depot in north-west Stockholm, Sweden. It consists of a dry fermentation plant for energy and nutrient recovery of fermentable green and organic waste and a combined heat and power (CHP) plant for energy recovery of non-recyclable combustible waste. The biogas is upgraded to biomethane and sold as a transportation fuel while the digestate is composted and used as a soil improvement medium. The heat from the CHP is supplied to the greater Stockholm district heat network and power is supplied to the grid. The bottom ash is sent for recovery of ferrous and non-ferrous metals before being used as a filler medium while industrial salts will be recovered from the fly ash in a novel treatment plant being built next door.

The signatories – the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants (CWEP), European Association for the Promotion of Cogeneration (Cogen Europe), Energy Cities, European Suppliers of Waste-to-Energy Technology (ESWET), Energy Technologies Europe, Euroheat & Power, European Aluminium, European Waste Management Association (FEAD), and Municipal Waste Europe – welcome the launch of the Platform on Sustainable Finance as Europe aims to achieve climate-neutrality by 2050.

In this regard, the “EU Taxonomy” is a significant step to guide the green transition.

While respecting the EU waste hierarchy, the signatories of the statement believe that it also is important for the Platform to consider more in-depth sectors dealing with waste management, heat, and energy efficiency. They bring significant contributions to all of the environmental objectives listed in the taxonomy.

Waste-to-Energy (WtE) plants – aka Energy-from-Waste (EfW) or Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) – link key sectors of the economy. Waste management, heating, and electricity sectors, along with others are key enablers of systems integration making the bridge between building a more circular economy, an Energy Union, and achieving climate change goals.

As already acknowledged by the European Commission in January 2017, the statement underlines that Waste-to-Energy has a role to play in the circular economy:

  • As a complementary tool for recycling, it safely treats residual waste;
  • It diverts residual waste from landfills, which prevents methane emissions;
  • It ensures the implementation of the EU landfilling target, with a minimised environmental impact;
  • It turns waste into energy for communities and industries;
  • It recovers valuable secondary raw materials, which completes the proper separate collection and sorting in the prevention of further virgin material extraction.

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