No Renewable Energy Incentives for Burning Plastic

Consensus statement for genuine and effective Feed-In Tariffs and other Renewable Energy subsidies

We the undersigned declare that using renewable energy funds for burning plastic is a harmful distortion of renewable energy standards and a threat to our health and climate. We call for integrity in standards for renewable energy incentives and an end to all feed-in tariffs for the burning of plastic and other waste.

Feed-in tariffs and other renewable energy incentives were developed to support low-carbon, healthy sources of energy around the world, like wind and solar power. Burning or heating plastics for energy is the equivalent of burning a fossil fuel, and the opposite of renewable energy. Almost all plastics are derived from oil, gas, or coal, and burning them releases pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Waste incineration in all its forms (including gasification and pyrolysis) is extremely expensive, as it requires complex emissions mitigation systems. The use of climate funding for these projects is a massive step backward for climate progress. In fact, U.S. government data has shown that so-called “waste to energy” systems are the most expensive way to generate energy, and also one of the most greenhouse gas intensive.

In addition, burning plastic and other wastes releases dangerous substances such as heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, and other toxics into the air. These pollutants cause environmental injustices and contribute to asthma, cancer, endocrine disruption, and the global burden of disease.

We are deeply concerned by the promotion of feed-in-tariffs and other renewable energy subsidies for gasification, incineration, and the use of plastics as fuel, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. Compost, reuse, repair, and recycling all conserve more energy than can be created by any form of waste incineration, and avoid the associated toxic byproducts. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and redesign products to use less plastics, not set up new polluting systems to burn them.

Climate change gives us no time to waste on polluting schemes posing as renewable energy. If we are to avert disaster, we must ensure that all climate funding goes to real solutions.

Signed by:

Friends of the Earth International
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
China Zero Waste Alliance, China
UPSTREAM, United States
groundWork, South Africa
Ecowaste Coalition, Philippines
KKPKP, India
The Story of Stuff Project, United States
Mother Earth Foundation, Philippines
Health Care Without Harm Asia
Zero Waste Europe
BaliFokus Foundation, Indonesia
Plastic Pollution Coalition, United States
Surfrider Foundation, United States
Pesticide Action Network, Mauritius
Environment and Social Development Organization, Bangladesh
Zero Waste Italy Consumers’ Association of Penang, Malaysia
Citizen consumer and civic Action Group, India
Nature University, China
Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Philippines
Collectif 3R, France
National Toxics Network, Australia
Habitat Council, South Africa
ToxicsWatch Alliance, India
Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project, United States
Plastic Free Seas, Hong Kong
Ecology Center, United States
Aliança Resíduo Zero Brasil, Brazil
Fórum da Cidadania, Brazil
Bizu Environment Science Studio, China
Swarnim Samaj, Nepal
Umanotera, Slovenia
Zelena akcija – Friends of the Earth Croatia
Zero Waste England
Društvo za trajnostni razvoj Duh časa, Slovenia
All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh, India
It’s Not Garbage Coalition
Durham Environment Watch, Canada
NCR Waste Matters, India
Don’t Waste Arizona, United States
Pragya Seeds Nepal
Zero Waste Kauai, United States
Centre for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka
Ecos de la Sociedad, Argentina
Friends of the Earth Malta
Eco-Cycle International
Urban Ore, Inc., United States
Biofuelwatch, United Kingdom
Indian Social Action Forum, India
Fundación Basura, Chile
Friends of the Earth United States
Sierra Club Puerto Rico
United Kingdom Without Incineration Network, UK
BUND working group waste and resources (Friends of the Earth Germany)
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, South Africa
Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France)
Hnuti DUHA – Friends of the Earth Czech Republic
Island Sustainability Alliance CIS Inc., Cook Islands
Students for a Just and Stable Future, United States
Centar za životnu sredinu/Friends of the Earth Bosnia and Herzegovina
LDC News Service, United Kingdom
Red de Acción por los Derechos Ambientales, Chile
Texas Campaign for the Environment, United States
American Environmental Health Studies Project, United States
Center for Public Health and Environmental Development, Nepal
Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Taiwan
East Michigan Environmental Action Council, United States
Zero Waste France
Other Worlds, United States
Development Indian Ocean Network, Mauritius
Funam, Argentina
IRTECO, Tanzania
Colectivo Voces Ecológicas, Panama
Fundacion Aguaclara, Venezuela
Associação de Combate aos Poluentes, Brasil
Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies, Philippines
RAPAL Uruguay
Taller Ecologista, Argentina
Zero Waste 4 Zero Burning, Canada
Free Your Voice, United States
The Surfrider Foundation, Hawaii Chapters
Polis Institution, Brazil
Friends of the Earth Colchester and North East Essex, UK
American Environmental Health Studies Project, United States
Društvo Ekologi brez meja, Slovenia
Association for clean environment/ “Let’s do it Macedonia”
Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik, Indonesia
Sound Resource Management Group, United States
Tasmanian Public and Environmental Health Network, Australia
Zero Waste Smart City Resources Association, Hong Kong
Vecinos Opuestos al Incinerador de Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Shanghai Rendu Ocean NPO Development Center, China
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia)
Downwinders at Risk, United States
Institute for Local Self-Reliance, United States
Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, United States
Društvo Gibanje za trajnostni razvoj Slovenije (Movment for Sustainable Development of Slovenia)