Release of New WDF Evidence Paper

We have published a report detailing the industry’s role in helping to solve three major challenges in Europe: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, supporting a circular economy and improving energy security.  

The report, entitled “The Role of Waste Derived Fuel in the EU’s Energy and Resources Transition” presents evidence which reflects the positive benefits of treatment of residual waste via Waste to Energy (WtE). The paper identifies areas where policymakers in the new European Parliament and Commission should support the industry, including on landfill policy, carbon taxation and a joined-up approach to policy making. 

Commenting on the Paper, Andy Jones, Chair of the RDF Industry Group, said: 

“The environmental benefits of WtE are clear: it avoids the harmful methane emissions associated with landfill and it produces energy, displacing fossil energy sources like coal and gas. The move to decarbonise WtE also incentivises pre-treatment, which has the potential to increase recycling.  

“Taking a Single Market view of RDF trade across Europe will be vital to the success of the industry. This means pooling WtE capacity across the EU and ensuring policy is designed to support joined-up, Europe-wide approach.” 

  • The RDF Industry Group’s publication, The Role of Waste Derived Fuel in the EU’s Energy and Resources Transition, is available to download here, with an executive summary available here. The paper focuses on key recommendations for the next EU Parliament and Commission to act on landfill policy, optimise taxation and ensure joined-up policymaking. 
  • In particular, policymakers are recommended to ensure landfill sits at the bottom of the waste hierarchy and is taxed appropriately higher than WtE, plus that carbon taxation is applied evenly to ensure WtE is not double-taxed or disincentivised. 
  • A third of Europe’s waste is still sent to landfill, despite WtE’s more favourable position on the waste hierarchy and its clear benefits in eliminating methane emissions, displacing fossil fuels, and driving up recycling. 
  • Rather than continuing to increase domestic WtE capacity, the RDF Industry Group highlights that RDF exports provide a flexible residual waste treatment route which allows greater freedom to prepare and implement policy decisions. RDF exports have for over a decade provided access to spare WtE capacity in places like the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden. 
  • Export contracts are relatively short term, and so are easier to ‘switch on and off’ to balance the amount of treatment capacity needed. These contracts provide a safety valve for waste management. The flexibility of RDF export allows Member States to make policy choices that are not unduly constrained by residual waste infrastructure investments. Member States can transition at their own speed, while dealing with residual waste in the most environmentally sound way in the interim. 
  • The RDF Industry Group has commissioned independent research that demonstrates that export of waste to high quality WtE CHP facilities has a lower overall carbon impact than domestic treatment.  
  • The RDF Industry Group has commissioned research which shows that an average of 20 jobs are generated per 10,000 tonnes of waste processed for RDF production, compared with 1 job per 10,000 going to landfill.