Towards cohesive taxation
policies for combustible waste
in Europe
Maarten Dubois
9 february 2012
Introduction
• EEEN
– Methodological choice
– Side-effects
• Combustible waste
– Why is combustible waste a challenging domain for cohesive policy?
– How do European policies currently deal with combustible waste?
– How can environmental economics contribute to policy assessment?
Multi-dimensional
• Interaction energy, resource and waste policies
– Renewable energy subsidies
• Technology
– Pre – and post treatment
– Incineration
– Recycling
Diversity in waste streams
Source: ECN Phyllis database for biomass and waste
Challenging domain
• Combustible waste
– Interaction of different policy domains
– Diversity of technologies and waste streams
– Dynamic environment
=> a one-fits-all policy is neither efficient nor sustainable
• Policy makers
– Important task
– Limited resources
• Instruments used
– Taxes
– Subsidies
– bans
Current policy
• Implementation of European Waste Directive
– Market for combustible waste liberalized
• Exceptions possible for municipal waste
• Free trade calls for a level playing field
• Heterogeneous European policies
– Incineration tax
• Yes: Flanders, Wallonia, France (+-10 % of price)
• No: Netherlands, Germany, UK
• Yes but no: Sweden and Norway
– Co-incineration: sometimes
– Landfill tax for ashes: sometimes
• No cohesive European policy & no level playing field
Environmental economics
• Efficieny and market failures
• Focus on externalities
– Environmental damage
– Measurable
– Monetary value
• Market Based Instruments
– Taxes and subsidies
Stylized diagram
Stylized diagram with instruments
Incineration tax
• Proxy for local air pollution
• Monetary value for local air pollution
• Monthly emission averages per plant available
• Tax competition
• Incineration tax as incentive for ‘clean operations’
– France
EU ETS
• Industrial carbon emissions in EU ETS
– Co-incineration
• Waste incineration
– Industrial point source of carbon emissions
• Integration of waste incineration in EU ETS
– EU level playing field
Landfill tax
• Non bis in idem
– Flanders and France
– Exemption of landfill tax for ash residues
– Mixing activity and externality
• Landfill tax for incineration residues
– Incentives for prevention and recycling of ashes
– F.e. plasma incineration, pre-treatment, co-incineration,…
Energy subsidies for waste
• Positive
– Energy subsidies stimulate WtE
– Energy subsidies should be based on electricity produced not
on theoretical factor of ‘efficiency recovery’
• Negative
– Energy subsidies decrease incentives to recycle waste
• Energy subsidies should correspond to the external
benefit
Conclusions
• Economic methodology:
– Focus on externalities
– Market Based Instruments
• Cohesive policy in a diverse and dynamic market
• Illustration combustible waste
– Incineration tax as an incentive to reduce local air pollutants
– Waste incineration in EU ETS
– Landfill tax as an incentive to reduce incineration residues
going to disposal
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