Status: 09.11.2023, 19:06 PM
By: Anna Laura Müller
Due to a change in emissions trading, climate levies will be due for waste incineration plants in the future. The additional costs could hit households directly.
Kassel – The German government has announced changes to the national emissions trading system and this could have a direct impact on German households. From 2024, waste incineration plants are also expected to be included in fuel emissions trading. And that means that in the future, levies will also be due there per tonne of CO₂. And according to a survey, these could lead to higher waste fees for consumers.
Fee increase for waste disposal: Here it will be more expensive
This is because 61 out of 100 representatives of municipal companies want to pass on the additional costs of the climate levy to households. The Association of Municipal Companies (VKU) conducted a survey among its members in September and asked, among other things, whether the inclusion of municipal waste in fuel emissions trading in your disposal area would lead to a fee increase as of 1 January 2024. About one-fifth of the companies surveyed participated. 100 CEOs from 98 companies responded. The survey results were first reported by Wirtschaftswoche.
Picking up the residual waste bins could soon become more expensive. The reason for this is a climate tax for waste incineration plants. © Gottfried Czepluch/Imago
The second law amending the Fuel Emissions Trading Act came into force on 16 November 2022. However, the inclusion of waste incineration as well as the next increase for fuel, heating oil and gas has only been set for January 01, 2024. In concrete terms, this means for consumers from 2024: A household of four with a 240-litre residual waste bin that is emptied every two weeks would have to pay an average of 22 euros more per year. However, this average increase only applies to refuse collectors who say they want to increase their prices. Those who do not intend to do so are not included.
Nature conservation associations welcome less waste incineration
The VKU considers CO₂ pricing on so-called municipal waste, i.e. those from households and companies with fewer than 250 full-time employees, to be critical. The actual goal must be to save waste and thus emit fewer greenhouse gases such as CO₂. However, this goal will not be achieved by a CO₂ price on waste incineration, because less waste will not be generated if its disposal becomes more expensive, the association writes on its website.
Nature conservation associations, such as the German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) and the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), have been campaigning against excessive waste incineration for some time. They repeatedly emphasise that the focus should be on a functioning circular economy instead of burning recyclable materials. It is undisputed that waste incineration has its justification in current waste management, as it contributes to environmentally friendly waste disposal by destroying and discharging pollutants, according to the NABU website. "However, large quantities of waste end up in incinerators that could actually be avoided, reused or recycled. These recyclable materials go up in smoke irretrievably."
Fee for garbage to be passed on directly to consumers
VKU Managing Director Ingbert Liebing draws attention to industry in the debate about a CO2 tax: "87 percent of fossil CO₂ emissions from waste incineration come from non-recyclable and composite packaging," he told the German Press Agency. "But only the citizens should pay for it, the industry is left out – that can't be fair."
The costs of refuelling and heating with fossil fuels are also expected to rise even further from 2024. This is because this area is also affected by rising CO2 prices. Economics Minister Robert Habeck is also currently examining alternative storage locations for CO₂ - including under the sea. (alm/dpa)