The "Moment of Truth" to Ensure the Survival of Mankind

Ahead of this weekend's climate conference in Glasgow, EU countries are divided over their energy and environmental policies.

Dipl.-Ing.(TU) Werner P. Bauer

In the circular economy, it will be especially relevant for our future how the rules on transboundary shipments will be phrased.  According to EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, companies exporting waste from the EU will have to shoulder additional responsibility. His proposal states that "the export of waste from the EU will be largely banned and will only be allowed if the country of destination is proven to be ready to receive the waste and it has the necessary treatment capacities."2) He stressed that the amount of plastic waste has increased by 75% since 2004.  "We should not lie to ourselves that we can recycle our way out of this situation.”

I hope that by treatment capacities we also mean capacities for energy recovery, because otherwise – as has been the case up to now – leftovers from the recycling plants will find their way back into the sea.

Fortunately, further organisations are now calling for the closure of landfills and stressing the importance of waste incineration.3)
- EU-wide landfill ban for untreated municipal waste, shortening of transitional regulations
- Promotion of thermal waste treatment to ensure proper disposal and energetic use of non-recyclable waste fractions

The waste-to-energy sector still discusses about Circular Economy, GHG emissions, sustainable treatments for non-recyclable waste, and EU Taxonomy.

Yours, Werner Bauer
P.S. The per capita CO2 emissions of many industrialised countries that still rely on landfilling - Australia (14.6 tons), Canada (13.8 tons) and the USA (13.0 tons) in 2020 - could be significantly reduced by consistently closing landfills. 4)

1) Source: taz of 28.10.2021
2) Source: EUWID Recycling of 5.10.21
3) Source: DGAW position paper of 2021.10.22: Demands to the traffic light coalition on the circular economy
4) Source:


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