Energy and Climate

CEWEP’s Statement on Renewable Energy Directive Recast

25th October 2017

In line with yesterday’s vote on the Renewable Energy Directive Recast in the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee and with the upcoming vote in the leading ITRE Committee at the end of November, CEWEP reiterates that incentives to support efficient energy recovery from residual non-recyclable waste are in line with the interlinked Climate, Energy and Circular Economy targets.

CEWEP supports source separation of waste (including biowaste) as this is a prerequisite to make quality recycling possible. However, despite all efforts of source separation, there will always remain some polluted biodegradable part of the residual fraction of industrial, commercial and municipal waste (e.g. dirty cardboards, multilayer packaging etc.), which is not suitable for quality recycling or composting.

“Waste-to-Energy plants have a crucial role in safeguarding a non-toxic cycle and treating this waste. Their role is to decontaminate the waste streams, removing waste with toxic substances from the recycling streams. Acting as a sink for pollutants Waste-to-Energy plants help to achieve a clean circular economy. The only alternative treatment for this waste stream would be landfilling, the least desirable option with regard to the European Waste Hierarchy and climate protection goals”, says Paul De Bruycker, the President of CEWEP.

Twelve EU Member states still landfill more than 50% of their municipal waste. This causes significant methane gas emissions, unsustainable land use, and – if not well managed – potential groundwater leachate and microplastics pollution. These Member States will need support in moving to waste management options higher up the waste hierarchy, including Waste-to-Energy, in order to fulfil the Circular Economy targets.

CEWEP firmly believes that the Waste Hierarchy (prevention, preparing for re-use, recycling, recovery, disposal) established under the Waste Framework Directive is to be respected. This means that for the waste that is not suitable for recycling, energy recovery is the option to go, replacing energy produced from fossil fuels and avoiding landfilling.


Contact CEWEP at: info@cewep.eu; tel.: + 32 2 770 6311

CEWEP (Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants) is the umbrella association of the operators of Waste-to-Energy plants across Europe. CEWEP’s members are committed to ensuring high environmental standards, achieving low emissions and maintaining state of the art energy production from remaining waste that cannot be recycled in a sustainable way.