Stricter limits on POPs do not necessarily mean more waste incineration, explains IPEN in its new factsheet
A new factsheet published by the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) claims that the European Union has a unique opportunity to prevent toxic recycling. It could be achieved by strengthening the limits for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in waste. What can the EU countries do about the waste that is already contaminated with POPs? The factsheet introduces alternatives to combustion technologies that are ready to be used and argues against incineration as the only solution for the liquidation of materials containing POPs.
According to the Stockholm Convention, POPs in waste that exceed the Low POPs Content Levels must be destroyed or irreversibly transformed. However, there are different ways of disposing of toxic waste. The authors of the factsheet claim that incineration of the waste that contains POPs goes directly against the spirit of the Convention as the result is the creation of a vicious circle of dioxin emissions into the air and mountains of toxic ash laced with more POPs.
Several countries are already moving towards alternative, non-combustion technologies that are able to destroy POPs in waste without dioxin emissions and without generating toxic ash residues. Some of these technologies have already proved to be less expensive.