The Waste Hierarchy
Reduction of waste is the ambition to eliminate waste from entering into the waste management system. Re-use of products extends product lifecycles thereby delaying their entry into the waste management system.
Recycling is a matter of re-circulating the materials that products are made up of, this substitutes raw materials in the production of new products.
Energy Recovery is the most efficient way to utilise everything that cannot be recycled for economic, practical or even technical reasons. The output from energy recovery replaces the use of fossil fuels in the production of heat and power.
Landfill is the least favourable alternative since the environmental impact is in fact negative.
The European Union classifies the biodegradable fraction of waste as renewable (directive 2009/28/EC, Article 2e) which allows it to benefit from different promotion schemes. So, using waste as fuel substitutes fossil fuels while simultaneously eliminating the emission of green house gases from landfills.