waste-to-energy is a key enabler of the circular economy by recovering energy
from waste that would otherwise go to landfill. Our members facilities play an
important role in the decarbonisation challenge by not only producing renewable
energy, but have plans underway to produce low-carbon heat and hydrogen for the mobility sector.


  • The European Commission in 2018 adopted a more ambitious framework which aims to create conditions or the development of a circular economy as described in the Circular Economy Roadmap. It is not yet clear
    to what extent the Circular Economy Action Plan will update the Directives.
  • The European Commission’s Circular Economy Package (‘CEP’) forms a constituent part of this framework and is centred on key waste legislative proposals which set ambitious targets to increase municipal waste
    recycling and to reduce landfill across Europe.


As part of the CEP, the EU has amended and updated four waste Directives, including:

  • Directive 2018/850 of May 30, 2018, amending Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste;
  • Directive 2018/851 of May 30, 2018, amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste;
  • Directive 2018/852 of May 30, 2018, amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste; and
  • Directive 2018/849 of May 30, 2018, amending Directives 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles; 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries; accumulators; batteries; accumulators; and 2012/19/EU on
    waste electrical and electronic equipment.

The European Commission adopted a new Circular Economy Action Plan in March 2020 – one of the main blocks of the European Green Deal, Europe’s new agenda for sustainable growth. It proposes a to introduce legislative and non-legislative measures aimed at cutting waste in areas like textiles, buildings, products, electronic equipment and municipal waste. It includes a timetable of key actions; a range of dates setting out when various legislative proposal will be published for consideration.

Comment: The European Commission will consult with stakeholders over the coming years on a range of ambitious proposals to improve the circularity of product design and sustainable waste management. These have the potential
to improve the circularity of waste in the recovery of energy, including:

  • The Strategy for Sustainable Built Environment, recycled content requirements, and enhanced Green Public Procurement will enable the recovery of increasing quantities of bottom ash for construction.
  • The restriction of waste exports that have a harmful impact on health and the environment will necessitate adequate waste treatment facilities within the EU.
  • The Strategy on Sustainable and Smart Mobility will attempt to enhance synergies with the circular economy transition, in particular by using sustainable alternative transport fuels such as hydrogen.
  • Measures such as European Commission’s plans to improve the market for secondary raw materials through the harmonisation of national end-of-waste criteria.