Leaked EU document shows Member States support more plastic incineration

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A leaked document given to Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) has found that European Union Member States are supporting more incineration of plastic, under a new Renewable Energy Proposal. 

ZWE has said that this proposal risks undermining the Commission’s Plastic Strategy, the EU’s circular economy agenda and the upcoming legislation on single-use plastic.  

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As the European Parliament and Member States prepare for the next negotiations on 17 May, the Council’s latest position promotes the inclusion of recycled carbon fuels within the scope of the revised directive (RED II).  

ZWE sustainable products campaigner Ariadna Rodrigo said: “The proposed inclusion of plastic waste in the definition of recycled carbon fuels would jeopardise any incentive to bring about a reduction of plastic pollution in Europe. 

“Such a requirement is not aligned with the strategic goals of the EU Plastics Strategy and the Circular Economy Package. Indeed, if plastics are turned into fuel, the incentive to redesign plastics that are currently difficult to recycle is lost.” 

ZWE said that the Renewable Energy proposal creates a negative incentive to meet any of the following strategies: 

  • The recently approved Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, that requires Member States to move from landfill and incineration to recycling, by setting a 55% recycling target by 2030  
  • The Plastic strategy, which aims that by 2030 all plastic packaging is recyclable 
  • The upcoming legislation on single-use plastics, which aims to reduce plastic pollution by introducing measures to ensure higher collection and recyclability of the most littered items.  

ZWE will urge Member States’ ministers during the negotiations to amend the Renewable Energy proposals by excluding plastic to fuel from the scope of the Directive.  

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