Industry fights back against Dutch RDF import tax

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
Image credit: Attero

The Dutch government is expected to follow through on its plans to introduce a €32-per-tonne (£28.75) tax on the import of foreign waste for incineration.

This is despite concerns from UK exporters and Dutch waste companies that this will negatively impact the refuse-derived fuel market (RDF).

UK waste exporters, represented by the RDF Industry Group, have this week written to Dutch ministers arguing the tax will lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions.

In a briefing, the Group said that for each tonne of RDF diverted from combined heat and power generation in the Netherlands and instead sent to landfill in the UK and Republic of Ireland, an extra 261kg of CO2e per tonnes will be emitted.

This is more than ten times the emissions generated per tonne when treated in the Netherlands, the Group said.

Robert Corijn, chair of the RDF Industry Group, said: “It is not effective for the Dutch government to be undermining wider attempts to reduce carbon emissions by not taking into account the significant leakage effects that the proposed waste import tax will have.

Currently around 1.4 million tonnes of RDF is sent from the UK and ROI for treatment in the Netherlands each year- the equivalent of taking over 370,000 cars off the road.

Corijn added: “Reducing the feedstock available to Dutch Energy from Waste facilities will increase competition for residual waste, and any potential reduction of gate fees as a result of this would only serve to undermine the economics of recycling. If Dutch facilities have to bear the cost of this tax, then this will put jobs on the line and facilities at risk of unnecessary closure.”

The briefing note argued that the country would suffer from a treatment capacity gap given 25% of the waste incinerated in the Netherlands currently comes from abroad.

The tax was announced in July as part of the Dutch government’s aims to tackle climate change and reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 25% by the end of 2020.

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