"A study commissioned by NABU reveals the increasing overcapacity of waste incineration inGermany. Today Germany is a net importer of waste due to the combination of declining amounts of national waste that is sent to incineration plants and a consistent expansion of incineration capacity.
At present, German incineration plants burn 2 million tons of waste which originate outsidethe country in order to maintain an economic workload at the incineration plants (=net imports). According to the study this overcapacity could grow to 8,6 tons by 2020. There are currently plans to construct 28 new waste incineration plants and to extend the capacity of 6 existing plants. This would add capacity of 5,5 million tons to Germany's oversized waste incineration infrastructure. Furthermore, the study shows that a significant number of German incineration plants are to be modernized or closed in the coming ten of fifteen years.
If stakeholders opt to build new and extend and modernize older plants, the waste incineration overcapacity couldreach 26%.
Such an overcapacity is likely to result in further imports for incineration or in increased incineration of recyclable waste. It risks undermining national efforts to follow a sustainable path of waste management (i.e. waste prevention, increased separate collection, recycling and re-use; implementation of Waste Framework Directive).
NABU is calling for a moratorium on extension of German incineration capacity and closure of older dispensable plants.
Instead, investments should be made to increase the recycling infrastructure.
The German example shows how crucial it is to take the right decisions today in order to follow a sustainable path of waste management. Once these inflexible and expensive incineration plants are set up, they will be used whatever waste need being burnt. Incineration plants -- technically as well as economically -- cannot run with just half of the work load. They will need to burn more waste which is generated through more exports or/and less separate collection and recycling.
You find the full study (in German) on the NABU website.