Energy and Climate
September 2017 (updated April 2021)
Waste-to-Energy plants put the energy content of residual waste, not suitable for sustainable recycling, to good use: producing electricity and heat from a locally available energy source. Waste-to-Energy technology is one of the most robust and effective alternative energy options to reduce CO2 emissions and to save limited fossil fuel resources that would otherwise be used to produce the energy. Waste-to-Energy Plants in the EU can supply 18 million inhabitants with electricity and 15 million inhabitants with heat. This is based on 90 million tonnes of residual household and similar waste that was treated in 2017 in the EU. Then between 10 and 50 million tonnes of fossil fuels (gas, oil, hard coal and lignite) can be substituted annually, which would emit 24-49 million tonnes of CO2. Waste-to-Energy helps to achieve low-carbon policy objectives and to ensure security of energy supply.