According to the European Waste Management Association (FEAD), based in Brussels, a recent promise by the European Commission (EC) to reduce the demand for natural gas by 15% is a reminder that “the waste management sector has not (yet) reached its full capacity of energy production and saving.”
Linking its statements to the recent EC REPowerEU plan, FEAD says: “The waste management sector has a fundamental role to play [to] end the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and tackle the climate crisis.
According to FEAD, recycling and recovery operations save material resources, energy and CO2 emissions by avoiding the extraction, processing and use of virgin raw materials and fossil fuels.
Additionally, the organization explains, the electricity and heat produced from waste-to-energy (WTE) and anaerobic digestion (AD) capacity is “generated from a local, reliable and secure source. , which allows us to diversify our energy”. [and] accelerates the deployment of renewable energies.
FEAD also highlights the energy saving benefits of recycling aluminum cans and says WTE plants in Europe “can currently supply 18 million people with electricity and 15.2 million people with heat. “.
The group continues: “To fulfill our role and achieve our full capabilities, these positive contributions must be fully recognized, making the waste management sector eligible for any relevant regulatory tool.
On this front, FEAD asks the EU and the EC to “recognize the recovery of energy (R1) from selectively collected non-hazardous residual waste in the EU taxonomy as an activity contributing substantially to (a transition to) a circular economy”.
The group says the EU can also do more to implement “measures that promote recovery and recycling markets in the EU through public support; mandatory recycled content targets in sectoral legislation; mandatory criteria for green public procurement; financial incentives (such as reduced VAT or value added taxes); and EU-wide end-of-waste criteria, where possible, to facilitate exports of recycled secondary raw materials within and outside the EU.
According to Peter Kurth, President of FEAD, “The European waste management sector has a role to play in the decarbonisation of our society, avoiding the combustion of fossil fuels and the use of virgin raw materials; it has a role to play in promoting a circular economy, by producing secondary raw materials and safely processing non-recyclable waste; and it has a role to play in the EU’s energy independence, by providing energy from a local, reliable and secure source.
FEAD says it represents the private waste and resource management industry in Europe, including 19 national waste management federations and 3,000 waste management companies.