Waste coincineration "is not ecodumping"

Industry launches battle of the consultants in response to environmentalist attack on waste burning

A recent claim by environmentalists that burning industrial waste as fuel amounts to "ecodumping" is misleading and unbalanced, European waste industry association Assurre has claimed. It would be "unfair" to raise environmental standards for coincineration plants to the same level as those affecting dedicated waste incinerators, the group adds.

The dispute was sparked by a consultancy study published by green umbrella group the European Environmental Bureau (EEB). Prepared by BZL or Germany, this highlighted cases where coincineration of waste as fuel attracted laxer environmental controls than dedicated incinerators, which it described as ecodumping (ENDS Daily 15 January).

Stung by the accusation, Assurre has released a counter-study commissioned from a second consultancy, CE of the Netherlands. This concludes that the BZL report presented an "incomplete and imbalanced" picture and was wrong to find that coincineration was "always disadvantageous to the environment".

According to CE, BZL failed to compare environmental impacts of burning wastes as fuel with those of fossil fuels that might be replaced. Since these might well be lower, the study therefore presented a "misleading picture".

Responding to the EEB's demand for harmonisation of emission standards between coincineration and dedicated disposal plants, CE says this would be unfair because many plants use waste as only a small proportion of all fuel. In an accompanying statement, Assurre criticises the EEB's call for waste to be burnt as fuel only in the most modern furnaces, arguing that a plant can be inefficient whatever the fuel used.

Follow Up:
Assurre, tel: +32 2 772 5252, and press release.

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