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Waste-to-Energy has still a place in the EU Taxonomy – ESWET

The European Commission (EC) adopted on April 21, 2021, an "ambitious and comprehensive" package of measures including the EU Taxonomy Climate Deregulated Act. While the European Suppliers of Waste-to-Energy Technology (ESWET) has welcomed the recognition of anaerobic digestion (AD), the broader inclusion of Waste-to-Energy (WtE) in the EU Taxonomy would have been a positive signal for the whole waste management sector.

According to ESWET, EU Taxonomy still overlooks the environmental impact of non-recyclable waste, when many EU Member States landfill more than 40 percent of their waste, and waste generation is increasing in Europe for the third year in a row.

Representing the suppliers of Waste-to-Energy (WtE) technology, ESWET reaffirms its support to the EU Taxonomy as an important tool towards a carbon-neutral Europe and welcomes the inclusion of AD with the Platform on Sustainable Finance having “rightly recognized the role played by this Waste-to-Energy technology in reducing landfills and related methane emissions.”

However, according to ESWET, the Delegated Act fails to reflect a comprehensive approach for waste management. While prevention, reuse, and recycling of waste should remain the priority of any policy, technologies like WtE need support for the service they provide in safely manage non-recyclable waste.

We believe that, following the request made in March 2020 by the Technical Expert Group (TEG) on sustainable finance, the Platform on sustainable finance should have considered the role of Waste-to-Energy in the Taxonomy, commented Patrick Clerens, ESWET Secretary-General.

This call has been echoed by trade associations across several sectors, which invited the Platform to consider WtE’s contribution to the climate and circular economy goals. The need to address this question has been also highlighted by PwC’s legal analysis of WtE in EU Taxonomy.

As it stands, EU Taxonomy still overlooks the environmental impact of non-recyclable waste, when many EU Member States landfill more than 40 percent of their waste, and waste generation is increasing in Europe for the third year in a row.

Thus, ESWET calls for the Commission to foster a technology-neutral and open discussion on Waste-to-Energy in the context of its work on the second Delegated Act, in order to assess under what conditions Waste-to-Energy can contribute to the circular economy and pollution prevention.

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