Towards sustainable recycling - A method for comparing the safety and sustainability of the processing of residual flows

One of the main elements of the European Green Deal is the Circular Economy Action Plan. An important component of this plan is to landfill or incinerate less waste and to reuse or recycle it as much as possible. However, this must be done in a manner that is safe for humans and the environment. RIVM is proposing a method for comparing the safety and sustainability of different ways of processing waste materials. By using such methods, policymakers and waste processors can make well-considered choices with regard to new forms of waste processing.

The method consists of six steps. In these steps, consideration is given to the risk of hazardous substances that may be present and the environmental benefit of the waste processing. The substances involved include Substances of Concern (SoC) and can be extended to pathogens, residues of medicines, and pesticides.