Sustainable Finance Should Include Waste-to-Energy, the Enabler of a Clean and Sustainable Circular Economy

12th  October 2020

This week, the newly established Platform on Sustainable Finance will start its work and advise the European Commission with the development of technical screening criteria for sustainable economic activities. The circular economy will be high on the agenda and as waste management is crucial in the transition to the circular economy, CEWEP believes that more expertise covering the entire waste management value chain is needed on the Platform.

The Platform should put Waste-to-Energy (WtE) on its agenda as suggested by the Technical Expert Group on Taxonomy and consider the development of criteria for WtE.
WtE plants are, in line with the Waste Hierarchy, an important enabler of a climate-ambitious and clean circular economy by:

  • diverting non-recyclable waste from landfilling, which is still the dominant destination for many waste streams in Europe. This could save more than 150 million tonnes of CO2eq every year;
  • keeping the material cycles clean by treating waste containing substances of concern and rejects from recycling and sorting facilities;
  • avoiding that non-recyclable waste takes unsustainable routes, like dumping and open fires (as recently seen even in Europe) or shipping to regions without proper waste treatment infrastructure;
  • recovering valuable secondary raw materials (e.g. metals and aggregates from bottom ash) clean and ready to be re-injected in the economy, thus preventing extraction of virgin materials.

CEWEP supports the establishment of a robust and science-based technical framework to facilitate sustainable investment (“Taxonomy”) and provided insights from the WtE sector during the development of the Taxonomy regulation, and in multiple public consultations. CEWEP trusts that members of the Platform will be open to robust and science-based arguments as they develop the technical screening criteria for activities contributing substantially to the circular economy by 31st December 2021.

We stand ready to provide the technical expertise needed to develop the relevant criteria for conditions in which WtE can act as an enabler in the transition towards a clean circular and climate neutral economy. With this in mind, CEWEP has already drafted ambitious technical criteria for WtE and would be happy to contribute to the work of the Platform.

Press release