German waste incineration plants and power plants running on refuse-derived fuel (RDF) are increasingly using imported wastes for combustion. Last year, their imports of RDF (European Waste List codes 191210 and 191212) and of mixed muncipal waste (EWL code 200301) which underwent energy recovery (R1) or were disposed of through incineration (D10) totalled 1.71 million tonnes, according to statistics published by the German federal environment agency (UBA). In the year before, the imports stood at 1.66 million tonnes and in 2011 at only 706,000 tonnes.
If all foreign waste shipments destined for incineration are taken into account (including wood waste, sewage sludge and certain hazardous wastes), the total amount reaches 3.33 million tonnes.
According to the UBA statistics, in particular imports of combustible waste (EWL code 191210) and of other wastes from mechanical waste treatment (EWL code 191212) grew steadily in the past five years, from 452,000 tonnes in 2011 to 1.34 million tonnes in 2015. The bulk of these shipments (1.32 million tonnes) was destined for energy recovery (R1) plants.
Germany’s imports of mixed municipal waste also recorded significant growth, from 254,000 tonnes in 2011 to 375,000 tonnes in 2015, with the share destined for energy recovery rising from 5,000 tonnes in 2011 to 314,000 tonnes last year.