Four international organisations have warned EU regulators of the risks of individual states putting forward end-of-waste regulations for fuel obtained from waste.
The associations claim an increasing number of European countries are looking at drafting national laws that would reclassify solid recovered fuel (SRF) and refused derived fuel (RDF) as products, thus removing stringent requirements for shipment and traceability that apply to waste materials.
The European Cement Association (CEMBUREAU), the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants (CEWEP), the trade body of European Suppliers of Waste-to-Energy Technology (ESWET) and Municipal Waste Europe (MWE) wrote to the European Commission expressing concerns on the issue.
If SRF and RDF were no longer subjected to waste regulations, they could be burnt in facilities that did not comply with “the specific, strict requirements” applied to plants that process waste, noted the associations.
“[SRF and RDF] could be used as fuel in any facility, or even in homes, which could thereby generate the high levels of harmful emissions that the Industrial Emissions Directive seeks to prevent through its strict controls and emission limits,” they said.
They added that a dilution of the classification of SRF and RDF to ‘green listed’ waste, non-hazardous waste that can be exported under a lower level of control, would also make tracking the materials more difficult and potentially be exploited by unscrupulous operators.
The associations urged the European Commission to ensure that RSF and RDF remained under the control of waste legislation, in particular waste shipment regulations and EU air policy and Best Available Techniques for waste incineration and waste co-incineration.
Austria and Italy already have end-of-waste regulations in place for fuels obtained from waste and other countries were considering doing so, Ella Stengler, managing director at CEWEP, told MRW.
She declined to name those countries, but said the UK was not among them.
She stressed the aim of the initiative was to bring the issue to the attention of the European Commission, not attacking countries that had adopted end-of-waste regulations for waste derived fuels.