European Union waste management strategy and the importance of biogenic waste

Jürgen Vehlow (Corresponding Author), Britta Bergfeldt, Rian Visser, Carl Wilén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


In the European Union (EU), waste management is almost totally regulated by EU directives, which supply a framework for national regulations. The main target in view of sustainability is the prevention of direct disposal of reactive waste in landfills.
The tools to comply with these principles are recycling and material recovery as well as waste incineration with energy recovery for final inertization. The adaptation of the principles laid down in EU directives is an ongoing process.
A number of countries have already enacted respective national regulations and their realization shows that recycling and incineration are not in competition but are both essential parts of integrated waste management systems. In the EU, the amount of residual waste available for energy recovery can supply approximately 1% of the primary energy demand.
About 50% of the energy inventory of municipal solid waste (MSW) in most EU countries is of biogenic origin, and MSW is to the same extent to be looked upon as regenerative fuel. Hence part of the CO2 released from waste incineration is climate neutral.
In the EU, this share could produce savings of the order of 1% of annual CO2 emissions if energy from MSW replaced that derived from fossil fuel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-139
JournalJournal of Material Cycles and Waste Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Biogenic waste
  • CO2 emission
  • Disposal
  • EU waste management
  • Recycling
  • Waste to energy


Dive into the research topics of 'European Union waste management strategy and the importance of biogenic waste'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this