The Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants (CEWEP) congress will be held in Bilbao on September 21 and 22. The event will feature an ambitious programme dealing with energy recovery from unrecyclable waste from a number of different perspectives. Experts and professionals in the sector will shed light on the reality of a treatment system that guarantees recovery, in the form of energy and heat, of waste which cannot be recycled due to its characteristics.
Within this context, it should be borne in mind that the recent position adopted by the European Union reinforces treatment in accordance with the waste hierarchy, a hierarchy in which energy recovery is placed above landfilling. The latter is the least desirable option owing to its negative impact on the environment and public health.
Member States are therefore encouraged to make landfilling the exception rather than the rule. An example is provided by northern European countries such as Germany, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands. Thanks to environmental policies that prioritise prevention, preparation for reuse, recycling and energy recovery, these countries have reduced landfilling rates to less than 3%. In Spain, however, the landfilling rate stands at around 57%, which is an unsustainable within the framework of a circular economy. The European Council has set a 2035 landfilling target of 10%, a goal which cannot be achieved without the promotion of energy recovery, which also affords an opportunity to reduce fossil fuel imports.