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Statement on the need for a new strategy for residuals within a circular economy

Statement on the necessity of a new strategy for residues in a circular economy


We call on the European Commission to propose a new urban residual waste management strategy, in accordance with the new circular economy vision and the current climate emergency objectives, giving priority to material recovery and biological treatment rather than energy recovery.


Through the circular economy package, the EU has adopted an advanced waste management roadmap, creating a framework for EU member states. Within this framework, waste management becomes a tool to help maximize the effective management of resources, while continuing to strive to achieve environmental sustainability by minimizing waste and maximizing reuse and recycling practices.

This vision also requires due consideration of the management of urban residual waste.

In order to realize this new vision, materials and resources must remain in the system, minimizing so-called "leakage" such as landfill and waste incineration. Recovering energy from waste (through incineration or co-incineration) destroys a lot of resources; requires the extraction of new primary raw materials; continues the linear economic model; and releases greenhouse gases (GHG) from fossil materials. But most importantly, it creates a “lock-in” in the system, as the incinerator needs to be continuously provided with a given tonnage to ensure a return on stranded assets, which usually prevents proper recycling. In the past few years, recovery rates in many regions have stagnated: they have invested in residual waste incineration capacity, which is inconsistent with the new, more ambitious goals and operating plans designed by the circular economy package.

When the circular economy model allows itself to be undermined by incentives designed to eradicate the same practices, it is unrealistic to expect the circular economy model to flourish and be widely adopted.

The combination of material recovery and biological treatment (MRBT) is a better and more flexible way to manage the residues in the circular economy, bearing in mind that its main goal is to maximize timely separation, collection and collection, in addition to overall waste reduction. Recycle waste materials and minimize residual waste.

The MRBT system combines biological treatment (to stabilize fermentable materials found in residual waste) with sorting equipment (recycling of non-target materials-such as non-packaging plastics-or through separate collection of captured materials). Due to the recovery of some materials and process losses from the biological stability, this method fully diverts the waste from the landfill.

MRBT ensures that the negative impact of residues in landfills is reduced, in line with the strategic objectives of the Landfill Directive. At the same time, it retains the flexibility needed to continuously improve the performance of the waste management system. In fact, the biological treatment section of MRBT may gradually transform into the composting capacity of clean organic matter; and its material recovery part can be used to process more and more cleaning materials from different collections.

Our call to action

With this in mind, we call on the European Commission to propose a specific EU residual waste management strategy-a strategy that aligns the treatment with the overall principles and strategic objectives of the EU's circular economy and climate agenda. Specifically, the new strategy should include:

Communication from the European Commission on the (marginal) role of landfill in recycling Europe. The definition of common methods for managing residues within the EU includes the compilation of "effective pre-treatment" and guidelines on the acceptance of exceptions to "pre-treatment". Waste treated in landfills". An EU-wide survey on technologies that can be used to recover materials from residual waste; and related applications of recovered materials, current initiatives, best practices, and conversion to compost The biological treatment plant of the plant. In order to convert the existing mechanical biological processing (MBT) plant into an MRBT plant and further provide financial and legislative support to transform these two projects into a compost plant and a clean material recovery facility for cleaning organic matter and drying Recyclables.

Why is the residual waste bridge strategy: the benefits of MRBT

The MRBT type of treatment is obviously more scalable than incineration (that is, it can be used under different scales of operation capabilities). MRBT is based on a biologically stable and mechanical sorting system that is modular in nature. Although the best available technology (BAT) incinerator will have serious scale diseconomies and low efficiency, less than 100.000-150,000 tons/year, the workload of MRBT may be much less than 100.000 tons/year (many biological treatment plants So less than 50,000 tons/year). Therefore, MRBT can better address the principle of proximity and enable each area to conduct residual waste management completely autonomously. Designed to operate through biological stability and material recycling, it has obvious cost competitiveness compared with incineration. BAT-level capital expenditure (CAPEX) may be in the range of 200-400 euros per ton/year of installed capacity, while BAT incinerators are usually around 1,000 euros per ton/year or more. This means that less financial resources are used for residual waste management, and a large part of the budget may be dedicated to separate collection, reuse and recycling. MRBT type facilities are generally faster to implement than incinerators. Planning, procurement, permitting, construction and approval usually take two years, which is much less than the time required to start and operate the incinerator. This means “saving time” in complying with the EU’s landfill directives and being prepared to ensure pre-treatment while minimizing the negative impact of landfills. MRBT-type devices are climate-friendly, because through biological stabilization they only degrade biological materials and recover fossil materials (or eventually landfill and sequester carbon); on the contrary, through incineration, fossil carbon dioxide will be completely released (the same is true for co-incineration, It burns RDF, a large part of which is made of plastic and other fossil materials, such as synthetic textiles). The MRBT system is inherently flexible. MRBT is adaptable because it includes a biologically stable treatment system that can be modularly adapted to treat clean organic matter from a dedicated separation and collection scheme.Optical, ballistic, and magnetic separation equipment can also be used in different work shifts to increase the amount of dry recyclables from roadside programs.

It is a biologically stable process system that can be modularly adapted to treat clean organic matter from a dedicated separation and collection scheme. Optical, ballistic, and magnetic separation equipment can be used for different work shifts and can also be used to increase the amount of dry recyclables from roadside programs.

View the complete list of signatories

Margrete Aauken (Greens)Pernando Barrena (GUE)Benoit Biteau (Greens)Leila Chaibi (GUE)Ciarán Cuffe (Greens)Rosa D'Amato, non-affiliated Clare Daly (GUE)Eleanora Evi, non-affiliated Cornelia Ernst (GUE)Luke Ming Flanagan (GUE)Alexis Georgoulis (GUE)Claude Gruffat (Greens)Francisco Guerreiro (Greens)Martin Hausling (Greens)Martin Hojsík (Renew Europe)Petros Kokkalis (GUE)Aurore Lalucq (S&D)Chris MacManus (GUE)Tilly Metz (Greens) Michels (GUE)Jutta Paulus (Greens)Piernicola Pedicini, Non-attached Kira Marie Peter-Hansen (Greens)Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP)Manuela Ripa (Greens)Mounir Satouri (Greens)Andreas Schieder (S&D)Jordi Sole (Greens)Erikussa ) Ivan Vilibor Sincic, non-affiliated Idoia Villaneuva (GUE) Mick Wallace (GUE)


Asociatia ECOTECABankwatchBond Beter Leefmilieu Both Ends European Environmental Citizen's Organization for Standardization (ECOS) Ekologi brez meja (Slovenia) Ecological Recycling Association (Greece) European Environment Agency (EEB) Global Incineration Alternative Alliance (GAIA) Green Liberty without Harzmvia) Szövetség (Hungary) ) Zelena akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia ZERO – Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável (Portugal) Zero Waste Europe Zero Waste Italy Zero Waste Poland Association Zero Waste Romania Zero Waste Latvia (Latvia) Ziedine Kingdom eko​​nominikaUnited UK

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