CEWEP (Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants) is the umbrella association of the owners and operators of Waste-to-Energy plants across Europe. They thermally treat household and similar waste that remains after waste prevention, reuse and recycling by generating energy from it. They deliver this energy (heat and electricity) to citizens and industry. Thus, replacing limited fossil fuels, such as coal, oil or gas used by conventional power plants. The waste treated by Waste-to-Energy Plants would otherwise be sent to landfill sites. This is how Waste-to-Energy Plants help reduce both dependence on landfilling and on fossil fuels.
CEWEP the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants
CEWEP is the umbrella association of the owners and operators of Waste-to-Energy Plants, representing some 394 Waste-to-Energy Plants from 18 European countries. They make up 86% of the Waste-to-Energy capacity in Europe.
Waste-to-Energy Plants (waste incineration with energy recovery) thermally treat residual household and similar waste that cannot otherwise be reused or recycled in an environmentally or economically beneficial way, and generate energy from it.
Recycling and Waste-to-Energy are complementary waste treatment methods.
Together they are instrumental in order to divert waste from landfills and reduce Greenhouse gas emissions. This avoids the creation of methane in landfills, a potent greenhouse gas (25 times more significant in mass than CO2).
Waste-to-Energy Plants also help to ensure quality recycling by treating the waste that is not good enough for recycling.
Membership of CEWEP underlines a Waste-to-Energy Plant’s commitment to ensuring high environmental standards, achieving low emissions by operating Best Available Techniques and maintaining state of the art energy production from not otherwise reusable or recyclable materials.
The plants represented by CEWEP are operated both by municipalities and private companies. Members are mostly national associations, but also individual plants.
Reducing dependence on landfills
CEWEP highlights that recycling and energy recovery are complementary options in order to divert waste from landfilling.
To avoid wasting natural resources and to reduce landfill methane emissions, combustible waste that is not suitable for recycling should not be landfilled, but treated in a more sustainable way in Waste-to-Energy Plants that produce energy from the waste.
Waste-to-Energy prevents dirty or contaminated waste from entering the recycling chain and adversely impacting quality.
If waste is not good enough for recycling (e.g. degraded after being recycled several times) it should be turned into energy by Waste-to-Energy Plants.
Boosting Energy Efficiency
There is a major opportunity to use even more energy from waste in the form of heat, if the appropriate linking of heat (or process steam) customers to Waste-to-Energy Plants would be encouraged.
Therefore we need drivers for improving infrastructure for district heating and cooling in addition to incentives to maximize electricity production from waste.
- Access to the grid
The energy gains from Waste-to-Energy can be increased by improving access to power grids for Waste-to-Energy Plants.
Waste-to-Energy Plants generate reliable base-load energy, while at the same time providing vital waste services.
A voice for Waste-to-Energy
CEWEP focuses on contributing to European environmental and energy legislation that can affect Waste-to-Energy Plants through:
- Close and permanent contact with the European Institutions
- Careful analysis and proactive contributions to EU environment and energy policy
- Participation in on-going studies (UNEP, OECD and EU)
- Undertaking our own studies, e.g. based on Life Cycle Thinking, composition and recycling of bottom ash etc.
CEWEP organises plant visits, congresses, workshops and debates, often in the European Parliament, in order to inform decision makers and the public about Waste-to-Energy.
Promote public participation
CEWEP provides the public with information on emission levels, energy efficiency, on the technology of Waste-to-Energy and the plants’ contribution to climate protection in order to raise citizens’ awareness of the role Waste-to-Energy plays in sustainable resource management.
Promote exchange of experience, research and development
CEWEP serves as a platform for the exchange of experience between members, advances scientific, technical and practical aspects of Waste-to-Energy and promotes research, development and dissemination of knowledge towards sustainable waste management and energy recovery.
On research and scientific issues CEWEP is advised by a Scientific and Technical Council, comprised of eminent professors and CEWEP senior scientists.