Keeping the circular economy viable and reliable

The circular economy is based on the principle of generating less waste and using waste that is generated as a resource. In practice, there are conditions to the realisation of such a circular economy, when it comes to the domain of waste management.

Building trust in the circular economy
First of all, the products generated need to have enough value to justify the cost of treatment. They must also be reliable, which calls for high-quality recovery products with the same functionality as virgin materials and no adverse effects. Finally, they should not pose a risk during use which means that any hazardous component needs to be taken out of the product and the entire cycle.

By decontamination of material cycles
This is where special waste treatment facilities play an important part. They decontaminate haz and non-haz materials and cycles by capturing, neutralising, immobilising and safely storing any component or residue that can possibly harm the environment and human health.

By resource-efficient recovery and reuse of materials from waste
In the treatment processes, they also pay special attention to recovery and reuse of materials, energy and water. This can either be within their own plants (for example, through using waste as a fuel in the process and using bottom ashes in controlled construction applications, for example in landfill construction) or in the wider economy (where examples include supplying electricity and steam outside the plant or re-using metals, etc.).

“The hazardous waste incineration sector continues to be a vital contributor to safe and resource-efficient waste management in the Union, as an important way of dealing with materials that should not remain in circularity. In that regard, your sector is a gatekeeper of the Circular Economy.”
European Commission Vice-President, Jyrki Katainen, 2018