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Excluding waste incineration and co-incineration from the Recovery Fund

Question écrite de Mme Eleonora EVI - Commission européenne

Question de Mme Eleonora EVI, M. Piernicola PEDICINI,

Diffusée le 21 mars 2021

Subject: Excluding waste incineration and co-incineration from the Recovery Fund

In its recently published guidelines on interpreting the ‘do no significant harm to the environment’ principle, the Commission states that the incineration of non-hazardous waste should be considered an activity that causes significant harm to the environment. However, it is not clear whether this assessment also extends to the co-incineration of waste in waste-to-energy plants and cement plants. This needs to be established in order to ensure that the recovery funds are spent on truly sustainable activities rather than on those that are harmful to the environment and human health, like the various forms of waste incineration and co-incineration.

In the light of the above:

1. Can the Commission say whether the incineration and co-incineration of waste in waste-to- energy plants and cement plants are considered activities which significantly harm the circular economy and which, as a result, should be excluded from financing under the European Recovery Fund?

2. More specifically, can it confirm whether the co-incineration of waste leads to significant inefficiencies in the use of materials and natural resources and hampers programmes concerning the prevention, reduction, reuse and recycling of waste?

Supporter1

1 This question is supported by a Member other than the authors: Ignazio Corrao (Verts/ALE)

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 1 juillet 2021

Answer given by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis on behalf of the European Commission (2 July 2021)

The regulation establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility (2) provides that no measure included in a Recovery and Resilience Plan should lead to significant harm to environmental objectives within the meaning of Article 17 of the Taxonomy Regulation (3), including to the circular economy objective.

According to this Article, an economic activity shall be considered as doing ‘significant harm’ where that activity leads to a significant increase in the generation, incineration or disposal of waste, with the exception of the incineration of non-recyclable hazardous waste; or leads to significant inefficiencies in the direct or indirect use of any natural resource at any stage of its life cycle.

This Article applies to measures related to both incineration and co-incineration of waste, notably in waste-to-energy plants and cement plants, and measures related to the construction of new such plants, increasing existing capacities or extending their lifetime.

The Commission published a Technical guidance document (4) on the application of ‘do no significant harm’ under the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation, including a worked out example (of non-compliance with ‘do no significant harm’) in the case of a waste incinerator.

⋅1∙ This question is supported by a Member other than the authors: Ignazio Corrao (Verts/ALE)

⋅2∙ https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32021R0241

⋅3∙ https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex:32020R0852

⋅4∙ C(2021) 1054 final: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/c2021_1054_annexe_en.pdf







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