Mixed waste sorting systems prior to incineration not the silver bullet
Recycling Magazine – 20 February 2023 – Some stakeholders believe that mixed waste sorting systems before thermal treatment and disposal is the silver bullet that allows the waste management sector to achieve the EU’s circular economy objectives. This is the result of a recent study published on 16 February 2023 and also reflected in some amendment proposals within the ongoing revisions of the Renewable Energies Directive and the Industrial Emissions Directive. However, this is a dangerous message as it undermines years of awareness raising and investments made by the sector to implement and ensure the functionality of source separation of municipal waste by our citizens. Source separation is mandatory under the Waste Framework Directive precisely to ensure quality recycling. Consequently, separately collected waste shall not be incinerated nor landfilled. Exceptions to separate collection are possible in specific circumstances, and only then, a prior mixed sorting system should play a role. FEAD strongly supports the improvement and increase of ‘source separation’ as the most efficient and effective way to ensure quality recycling.