EU – Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) is in favor of the choices made to hasten the move toward a circular economy in Europe.
It regrets that an amendment to completely exclude hybrid sources—like mixed municipal waste—from the scope was turned down.
Sorting waste to eliminate fossil materials
The European Parliament has tightened the sustainability standards for the production of “green energy” from mixed trash. The operators must now separate the garbage to eliminate fossil elements if the mixed wastes are utilized for “green energy,” as required (for recycling). Additionally, only if separate collection duties are completely completed can biogenic waste (such as paper and biowaste) be supported for waste incineration.
According to a recent study, requiring sorting on all municipal “residual” (mixed) waste streams would raise the effective rate of plastic package collection to above 90% and help the EU Member States meet their recycling goals. However, a lot of plastic that might and should be recycled or repurposed is still lost when mixed garbage is burned.
The agreed-upon draft further strengthens the language used by the European Commission to restrict the prospective use of “recycled carbon fuels” sourced from fossil waste. In reality, the phrase “avoided emissions” has been removed from the approach in the revised language recommended by the Parliament. If it had remained, manufacturers might have fraudulently discounted the emissions from “avoided” alternative emissions, such as garbage incineration.
This accounting procedure theoretically reduces the overall greenhouse gas emissions from these fuels, making it possible for recycled carbon fuel to reach the minimum GHG reduction threshold of 70% needed for transportation to contribute to the renewable energy targets. According to a recent study on plastic-to-fuels, diesel produces fewer exhaust emissions than fuels derived from plastic.
Zero Trash Europe urges the European Parliament to retain its position on mixed waste and recovered carbon fuels at the next trilogies with the Council.