Agreement with managers of waste treatment installations

The agreement aims to reduce emissions from waste incineration, to create incentives for more efficient energy use and to promote the deployment of CO2 capture in waste treatment installations. It was signed in March 2022 and extends the previous agreement that expired at the end of 2021.

The 29 waste treatment installations in Switzerland are responsible for approximately 5% of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions from waste incineration in particular have risen since 1990, most notably due to consumption habits as well as population and economic growth in Switzerland, but they have stabilised in recent years.
In August 2014, DETEC concluded a first agreement with the Association of Plant Managers of Swiss Waste Treatment Installations (VBSA). The agreement integrated the waste sector into Swiss climate policy and obliged it to make a reasonable contribution to Switzerland's climate policy goals. In return, the waste treatment installations were exempted from participating in emissions trading (ETS). The agreement expired the end of 2021.

Reduction targets for 2020 achieved when weather taken into account

The agreement provided for a reduction of net CO2 emissions from waste incineration. The heat generated by incineration is used to produce electricity and heat, replacing their production from fossil sources. These indirect emissions savings counted towards the targets, as did savings from the metals recovered from the incineration residues. Net CO2 emissions had to be reduced by 200,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2020 compared to 2010, with a total reduction of 1 million tonnes over the period from 2010 to 2020. Unlike in the CO2 statistics, the agreement does not adjust targets based on the influence of winter temperatures on heat delivery. However, when taking this influence into account, the VBSA achieved both of the targets set out in the agreement.

Successor agreement with a reduction target for 2030

The agreement was renewed and realigned in 2022. It aims to drive forward the introduction of technologies for the capture of CO2 at Swiss waste treatment installations and its storage. In its long-term climate strategy, the Federal Council states that the use of such technologies is imperative to offset emissions that are difficult to avoid and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. It is therefore important to push ahead with pilot projects and the industrial application of NET and CCS plants. This is where the agreement comes in. It obliges operators of waste treatment installations to put at least one CO2 capture plant into operation by 2030. The plant is to have a minimum nominal capacity of 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and capture as much CO2 as the transport, storage and use conditions permit. At the same time, the operators of waste treatment installations must lay the foundations for CO2 capture and storage to be used on a large scale in the medium to longer term. The agreement sets annual interim targets for this. In addition, the VBSA will ensure that the operators concerned further reduce their net CO2 emissions in accordance with the 2014 agreement. It undertakes to report annually to DETEC on the development of net CO2 emissions in the sector. With the conclusion of the agreement, the waste treatment installations continue to be exempt from participation in the ETS. However, the new agreement stipulates that the waste treatment installations must participate in the ETS if the minimum quantity of 100,000 tonnes of CO2 is not achieved by 31 December 2030.  

Vereinbarung (PDF, 778 kB, 16.03.2022)zwischen dem Eidgenössischen Departement für Umwelt, Verkehr, Energie und Kommunikation und dem Verband der Betreiber Schweizerischer Abfallverwertungsanlagen

Further information

Last modification 07.09.2023

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