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Avaaz petition calls for Commission to curb new incineration capacity

A new petition on Avaaz has been launched by GAIA. The petition states that: “As European citizens we ask the European Commission to limit the construction of new incinerators. Incineration competes with recycling, and evidence shows that many EU countries already have more incineration capacity than waste to burn. Instead we ask you to take measures to change incentives in order to reduce, redesign, reuse and recycle waste as close as possible to where it has been generated. If Europe is to achieve the Resource Efficiency goals by 2020, no new incinerators should be built.”

Alongside the petition is the following statement:

Recycling in Europe is in danger. Excessive incineration capacity in some countries is causing that recyclable waste ends up being burned and that some other increase their waste shipments losing incentives to recycle.

Today English waste is shipped to the Netherlands, Italian waste to Germany, Norwegian waste to Sweden… Nobody knows exactly how much waste is being shipped across European borders for incineration. What we do know is that recycling could be radically improved and citizens are paying huge sums for the construction and operation of plants that burn resources that we should be sharing with future generations.

The European Union is contradicting itself. Every year Europeans burn more and more waste (69,5 million tons of waste between 2007 and 2010) while the EU has pledged to phase out incineration of recyclable waste by 2020. Yet, several new plants are being planned and/or are under construction now. It makes no sense to build new incinerators when countries such as Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, Holland and Sweden have more incineration capacity than trash to burn.

Our throw-away lifestyle is trashing our future, and incinerators are a good example of unsustainability. Investment needs to go into redesign, reduce, reuse and recycle activities – not to plants that waste valuable resources.

Please ask the Environment Commissioner to change the legal and economic incentives necessary to redirect the funds that now go to incineration.

The 2020 resource efficiency goals are set out in the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, as details in the recent UKWIN article on the European Environment Commissioner’s call for incineration limits, and include the milestones of “phasing-out, by the end of this decade, of incineration of recyclable and compostable waste” as part of a move towards a circular economy with “residual waste close to zero”.

GAIA, a global alliance which opposes incineration, released a report in January 2013 that highlighted issues surrounding incineration overcapacity, the threat of incineration to recycling, and the shipment of waste within Europe.

The new petition is available from:

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