Municipal waste incineration is currently excluded from the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). If incineration is included, as proposed, waste companies will have to buy emission credits for each tonne of CO2 they emit when processing household, company and industrial waste. This additional cost of incineration can act as an incentive for waste prevention and recycling, which will then become more competitive (less costly) than incineration. A shift of (not biologically pre-treated) waste to landfills should be avoided and is already restricted under the Landfill Directive.
The results of this study, requested by Zero Waste Europe, show that including incineration under the EU ETS would indeed encourage waste prevention and recycling, yielding both climate and employment benefits: