Spain will have to put more energy into meeting waste recovery targets

España tendrá que poner más energía para cumplir los objetivos de valorización de residuos

The waste management and treatment sector in Spain, and specifically the waste-to-energy sector, closes the year with no option but to “swallow” (there is no choice in the matter) a reform in the electricity sector that puts many of the facilities in the country into a position of great difficulty. The deficits caused by the undermining of the viability of these plants will be passed on to the user, i.e., the citizens, because it should not be forgotten that these facilities are publicly owned.
There are only 10 waste-to-energy plants in operation in Spain and they treat around 9% of municipal waste. Meanwhile, the rest of Europe, or more precisely, the Europe at the forefront in terms of environmental indicators, has a multitude of such facilities because, unlike Spain, they have long since come to the conclusion that burying waste in a landfill is not a question of cost. It is simply unacceptable.

Apart from some exceptions, like these other European countries where waste-to-energy is perfectly accepted, Spanish autonomous communities or cities that have these infrastructures are generally more advanced in the implementation of selective collection and materials recovery, and less of their waste goes to landfill.
Waste must be treated 365 days per year and it should be taken into account that waste converted into a resource by means of waste-to-energy processes does not end up in a landfill producing greenhouse gases, leachates and sundry degradation in an uncontrolled manner. The legislation introduced by the minister, Mr. Soria, has not taken any account of the provisions of environmental legislation or indeed administrative legislation governing local bodies and their obligations. That Spain is one of the few countries to regulate and develop its energy strategy without taking account of environmental legislation is not something to be proud of.

Article published in: FuturENVIRO October 2014