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Hidden emissions from waste incineration: new case study reveals dangerous breaches

Press Contact:

Janek Vahk, Development and Policy Coordinator, Zero Waste Europe / +32 (0) 493 55 3779

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Brussels, 28/11/18

Zero Waste Europe released today a new case study on the Reststoffen Energie Centrale (REC) in the Netherlands, revealing how even state of the art incinerators emit dangerous pollutants far beyond EU toxic emissions limits.

The study run by ToxicoWatch [1] shows emissions of dioxin, furans and persistent toxic pollutants in breach of EU air pollution limits. These excess emissions are not exceptional, and rather constitute a regular feature for the plant.

Analysis of backyard chicken eggs sampled within a 2 km radius from the plant show dioxin and furan contamination exceeding the limits for consumption [2].

The study also exposes how breaches have been hidden thanks to non-reliable testing which seriously underestimates the emissions level [2].

Janek Vahk, Development and Policy Coordinator at Zero Waste Europe, said: “The short term sampling of emissions currently required by the EU shows serious shortcomings and allows hidden emissions. We must urgently revise the rules for emissions monitoring for waste incineration, to protect people’s health and safety”.

For Zero Waste Europe, the study confirms the need to move away from waste incineration, a practice which puts public health and the environment at stake while exacerbating climate change [4], and to end public subsidies to incineration plants.


To read the case study, click here.




[1] ToxicoWatch is a NGO dedicated to creating a safer and healthier world by advancing the science of toxicology and raising awareness about toxic hazards in the environment. More information on:

[2] Commission’s recommendation on  the reduction of the presence of  dioxins, furans and PCBs in feed and  food :

[3] The mandatory system for emission testing relies on pre-announced short-term sampling of 6-8 hours twice a year, which seriously underestimates the actual levels of dioxin emission. When short- and long-term sampling are carried out in the same period, remarkable differences become visible. The study run by ToxicoWatch is based on long-term sampling.

[4] UKWIN Climate Change Report 2018:

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  1. Ich möchte noch eine Möglichkeit hinzufügen “elektronisch” den CO2-Ausstoß zu reduzieren (Ich hoffe das wurde nicht bereits an anderer Stelle besprochen). Immer wenn wir das Internet benutzen oder Emails verschicken, wird wegen des Stromverbrauches CO2-ausgestoßen. Die Initiative CO2-Neutrale Webseite ( neutralisiert den Aussstoß. Die dänische Organisation berechnet die CO2-Emissionen, die durch unsere Website verursacht werden, und reduziert im Gegenzug eine entsprechenden Menge CO2 durch verschiedene Klimaprojekte. Wir ( finden die Idee klasse und haben uns dieser Online-Initiative angeschlossen, um den CO2-Ausstoß zu reduzieren. 2500 Unternnehmen machen schon mit. Wir haben uns auch angeschlossen und eine Blog Beitrag darüber geschrieben (

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