EU Commission recommends EfW investment caution

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Public investment in EfW should be dropped in favour of circular economy projects, says the EU

The European Commission has today (26 January) published its guidance for the energy from waste (EfW) industry, recommending public investors to be cautious and to consider circular economy investment as an alternative.

The long-anticipated report claims an over investment in EfW will create ‘overcapacity’ in incinerators across EU member states. The aim of the recently released guidance is to ensure ‘the recovery of energy from waste in the EU supports the objectives of the circular economy action plan’.

EU Commission guidance discourage waste to energy incineration.

EU Commission guidance discourage waste to energy incineration. Photo: © Copyright Carol Walker

To coincide with the publication, the EU Commission has announced it will be working with the European Investment Bank EIB to propel investment in circular economy schemes throughout the EU.

The ‘Circular Economy Finance Support Platform’ is designed to increase awareness of alternative business models which adopt the ‘prevention, reuse, and recycling’ of waste.

The report warns potential investors that waste materials destined for EfW facilities could be limited in the future, especially when the EU’s Circular Economy (CE) package comes into play in the near future.

The guidance does not completely warn against any EfW investment, but instead states it should be harnessed in the ‘most efficient’ way and should ‘not prevent higher levels of prevention, reuse and recycling’.

EU member nations should now begin to ‘gradually phase-out public support’ for EfW and focus instead on circular economy opportunities, recommends the report.

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