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Energy-from-waste plants in Sicily

Question écrite de M. Pietro BARTOLO - Commission européenne

Question de M. Pietro BARTOLO,

Diffusée le 20 mars 2024

Subject: Energy-from-waste plants in Sicily

Italy has legally appointed a government commissioner to oversee the building of ‘energy-from-waste plants in which the combustion process delivers a high level of energy recovery’ in Sicily.

Directives 850/2018/EU and 851/2018/EU stipulate that by 2035 the amount of municipal waste landfilled must be reduced to 10% or less and that waste sent for disposal prior to recovery should be considered for the purposes of calculating the landfill target.

Since the terms ‘energy-from-waste’ and ‘high energy recovery’ do not feature in the EU legislation, can the Commission answer the following:

1. Is an energy-from-waste plant not an incinerator subject to legislation on incineration?

2. What is meant by ‘high energy recovery’ in the light, inter alia, of EU Regulation 241/2020 and Directive 2008/98/EC?

3. Can mechanical biological treatment be deemed a recovery operation?

The waste management plan should specify the disposal site and method for waste that has undergone a recovery operation and, as such, is no longer categorised under code EWR 20 but considered special waste.


Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 22 mai 2024

Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius on behalf of the European Commission (23 May 2024)

1. Waste-to-energy plants meeting the capacity criteria for incineration and co-incineration plants in Annex I of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) (1) are covered by Chapter II of the IED and have to be operated in accordance with a permit based on Best Available Techniques (BAT) (2). Emissions cannot exceed certain emission limit values and technical rules have to be complied with.

2. According to the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) (3) it shall be a condition of any permit covering incineration or co- incineration with energy recovery that the recovery of energy takes place with a ‘high level of energy efficiency’. The R1 regime under the WFD sets out the energy efficiency criteria which municipal waste incinerators and co-incinerators have to fulfil in order to qualify as a recovery operation (‘R1: Use principally as a fuel or other means to generate energy’). This regime differentiates those facilities from disposal operations listed in Annex I WFD and ranks them higher in the waste hierarchy (4).

3. Mechanical biological treatment is defined as ‘Treatment of mixed solid waste combining mechanical treatment with biological treatment such as aerobic or anaerobic treatment’ (5) and can be either an interim recovery or an interim disposal operation depending on whether the subsequent operation is a recovery or a disposal operation as per Annexes I and II to the WFD.

1 ∙ ⸱ Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and

control), OJ L 334, 17.12.2010, p. 17-119. 2 ∙ ⸱

As described in BAT conclusions ( 3 ∙ ⸱ Article 23 of Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives, OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3-30, as amended by Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May, OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 109-140. 4 ∙ ⸱ Article 4 of Directive 2008/98/EC. 5 ∙ ⸱

Commission implementing decision EU) 2018/1147 of 10 August 2018 establishing best available techniques (BAT) conclusions for waste treatment, under Directive 2010/75/EU,

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