Big rise in RDF costs possible

Posted on 17th July, 2019

Concerns have been expressed over the impact of possible legislation in the Netherlands which may see a tax imposed on the import of baled waste from the UK known as refuse derived fuel or RDF.

The Dutch are considering a tax as part of measures to reduce carbon emissions. Should it be imposed, the tax could have huge impacts on the UK if the price for exporting RDF was to rise by the proposed 30 Euros a tonne. Either local authorities and businesses would have to pay the higher rate (if it wasn’t absorbed by the waste sector) or alternative routes will need to be found.

And, within the UK the market is already tight for residual waste disposal with landfills, particularly in southern England, busy and often with little extra capacity, and energy from waste plants running full.

Local authorities are particularly concerned. The National Association of Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO) is among the organisations to have issued a response to the policy proposal, and has questioned whether the measure will achieve its outcome of reducing CO2.

In a statement, the organisation said: “NAWDO supports the reduction of greenhouse emissions, circular economy and moving towards a more resource efficient society. We are concerned to learn of tax proposals by the Dutch government and to implement a new tax at very short notice on UK imported waste sent for energy recovery in The Netherlands.

“It is unclear how much CO2 emissions are hoping to be saved by this tax proposal. The proposal will directly lead to higher waste costs for local authorities at a time when austerity and funding for local authorities remains a key issue.”