ZWE welcomes the agreement on the municipal waste incinerators within the EU ETS
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ZWE welcomes the agreement on the municipal waste incinerators within the EU ETS

Zero Waste Europe welcomes the decision taken by the European Council, the European Commission, and the European Parliament to include municipal incinerators in the scope of the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS).

This last Saturday, the Council and the Parliament negotiators reached a provisional agreement that requires the European Commission to present a report by 2026 with the aim of including municipal incinerators in the EU ETS from 2028. However, there is a possibility to opt-out until 2030 at the latest.

Janek Vahk: “This historic decision will strongly encourage recycling, especially plastic and synthetic textiles, as waste incinerators will be penalised for burning those fossil- based materials from now on. This will also have a spill-over effect on other materials.

As a first step, EU countries are required to put in place monitoring, reporting and verification systems for such installations by 2024.

Janek Vahk: “Proper verification of CO2 emissions is needed as currently nobody knows the real climate impact of municipal incinerators, it’s estimated that those facilities emit much more than reported”.

ZWE report Waste Incineration under the EU ETS commissioned to CE DELFT found that the inclusion would encourage waste prevention and recycling, yielding both climate and employment benefits:

  • CO2 emissions are estimated to decrease by 2.8 to 5.4 Mt per year in 2022 and 4.3 to 8.8 Mt per year in 2030. The benefits gradually increase up to 2030 because carbon prices are expected to rise, making recycling relatively more competitive.
  • Additional jobs amount to 6,800 to 13,000 in 2022 and 11,200 to 21,200 in 2030. Extra jobs will be created since recycling activities are more labour-intensive than waste incineration.

ZWE congratulates the negotiators team, especially the Parliament rapporteurs that have been strong advocates for this inclusion. The decisions taken will certainly help accelerate the transition to a circular economy in Europe.

The agreement needs to be confirmed by member states in the Council and the European Parliament to be final.

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