Waste-to-energy is a broad term that covers waste incineration and other waste treatment processes which generate energy, for example through generating electricity or heat, or produce a waste-derived fuel. Each waste-to-energy process has different environmental impacts and circular economy potential.

The Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU) is the main EU instrument regulating pollutant emissions from industrial installations, including waste-to-energy installations. The Industrial Emissions (Framework) Regulations (S.L.549.76) and the Industrial Emissions (Waste Incineration) Regulations (S.L.549.81) transpose part of the measures of the Directive at a national level. For further information on IPPC installations,

Image showing examples of waste to energy processes

Waste-to-energy processes incorporate different waste treatment operations, which range from ‘disposal’ and ‘recovery’ to ‘recycling’. The most common waste-to-energy process is waste incineration. Incineration of waste, as identified in the figure above, may include energy recovery or otherwise. Schedule 2 of the Waste Regulations (S.L.549.63) provides conditions and energy efficiency thresholds, which are to be used to classify a waste incineration facility as being either a recovery or a disposal operation.

Documents related to the abovementioned process can be found here.