Thermal recovery of energy and materials is an essential contributor to the circular economy

Fortum's position paper contributing to the European Commissions European wide consultation on the concept of Circular Economy.

​European Commission is working on the Circular Economy concept and as a part of this process European wide consultation has been established. Fortum wants to contribute to that work with this note that mainly focuses on the huge benefits of sustainable thermal energy and material recovery to be recognised and included in the Circular Economy concept i.e. by taking care of waste fractions that otherwise would be destined to landfills. Residual waste represents a local, resource and cost efficient, and secure source of heat to district heating networks and to industries, and electricity to the grid to replace fossil fuels in energy production. Thermal energy and material recovery from non-recyclable waste implies thermal incineration process, where energy as heat, steam and\or electricity, as well as materials like metals are recovered from ashes and slag.


Landfilled waste as well as waste incinerated without energy and material recovery represents an enormous loss of resources. The amount of waste disposed in such a way can be seen as an indicator of how efficient we are as a society, particularly in relation to our use of natural resources. This has been recognized by the European Commission and addressed in the development of the Circular Economy concept. Transforming  waste into resources and boosting growth, employment and economy are  important elements of the Circular Economy. Europe is struggling to reduce waste generation, recycle waste to the maximum extent and to recover energy from non-recyclable waste and gradually eliminate landfilling.

 

 

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