ZWE and Reloop publish a guidance on how to legislate mixed waste sorting in the context of the Renewable Energy Directive

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 02/03/2023 | 12:16

Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) and Reloop have released today these guidelines for legislating Mixed Waste Sorting (MWS) in the context of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).


The guidelines were developed to clarify the amendment proposed by the European Parliament regarding the use of mixed wastes for ‘renewable energy’ purposes.

The document recommends applying MWS systems of defined quality to remove fossil-derived materials to ensure that only biogenic waste is used for renewable energy generation. Following the requirement, the operators would either need to pre-sort the waste on-site or demonstrate that all waste received has undergone sorting prior to it being delivered for incineration.

Janek Vähk, Climate, Energy and Air Pollution Programme coordinator at ZWE, stated:

“Currently, at incineration plants, the ‘biodegradable fraction of mixed waste’ is never combusted without large quantities of (often recyclable) fossil-derived materials being present. Therefore, to ensure that the RED supports schemes that don’t allow the burning of fossil materials such as plastics, mixed waste sorting should be made mandatory for operators that want to sell their energy as renewable”.

Clarissa Morawski, CEO of Reloop, stated:

“The criteria proposed doesn’t create a new obligation as it’s already in the definition of renewable energy to use only the biogenic fractions of wastes and not fossils”.

The guide also recommends setting the following minimum performance criteria for MSW

● For plastics > 70%, with non-target materials contributing no more than 10%
● For steel >80%, with non-target materials contributing no more than 4%
● For aluminium >60%, with non-target materials contributing no more than 6%

A recent report by Eunomia Research and Consulting found that MWS would be necessary (in addition to improving separate collection and design for recycling) to ensure that existing plastic packaging and municipal waste recycling targets are met and to ensure progress towards the EU’s wider carbon emissions reduction goals.

ZWE and Reloop call on the European Council and Parliament to improve the criteria for mixed wastes to ensure this would only qualify as a source of renewable energy if it has undergone sorting of defined quality.

How I can learn more
Zero Waste Europe and Reloop invite you to join the conference Mixed Waste Sorting: The next frontier for managing residual waste for maximum circularity ​aiming to bring together regional and national governments, MWS operators, recyclers, experts, and technology providers from countries across Europe to offer their expertise on the introduction of MSW as an additional tool for the recovery and re-circulation of Europe’s valuable resources. The conference will take place on​ 21 March, 2023 in Brussels from 9 AM to 3:50 PM. Please register here.

BR Magazine | Latest Issue

Download PDF or read online: March 2023 Issue | Business Review Magazine

The March 2023 issue of Business Review Magazine is now available in digital format, featuring the main cover story titled “25 Leaders to Watch in 2023.” Read it online by clicking here. To
Mihai-Alexandru Cristea | 09/03/2023 | 17:26

    You will receive a download link for the latest issue of Business Review Magazine in PDF format, based on the completion of the form below.

    I agree with the Privacy policy of

    I agree with the storage and handling of my data by

    Advertisement Advertisement
    Close ×

    We use cookies for keeping our website reliable and secure, personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to analyse how our website is used.

    Accept & continue