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EC eyes EfW communication

The European Commission (EC) is working on an energy-from-waste (EfW) communication that will address how the process can be optimised without compromising higher reuse and recycling rates, according to European Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella.

Vella made the announcement while speaking at the Dutch Parliament on 4 April, 2016. He said that the European institution is aiming to adopt the communication by the end of 2016.

Speaking about the EC's circular economy ambitions, Vella said that EfW is an area with "considerable growth potential". With landfilling being reduced across the EU, and attempts to increase separate collection and recycling rates, Vella said that Europe can expect to send more than 20 per cent of combustible and non-recyclable waste to waste-to-energy facilities.

The Commissioner explained that the EC is trying to develop a plan that speeds up the "cost-effective transition" towards a "clean, competitive and secure energy future". The circular economy, he says, will play an important role in this, "especially if in our cost-efficiency analysis we structure in the climate change and the environmental costs as well".

Vella said: "You have obviously understood that the future of energy is also the future of the environment. We cannot have sustainable energy unless we also include climate and environment in those policies. The first objective of the circular economy package is to avoid waste in the first place. But you can never eliminate it all, and you can never recycle it all of it [sic]. However you can still gain by recovering energy from the non-recyclable materials."