Under the European Waste Framework Directive and Landfill Directive Ireland is committed to recycling a large proportion of its waste. A residual fraction, however, or 'black bin' waste remains, which is unsuitable for recycling and is currently disposed of to landfill. Ireland is also committed under these European Directives to recovering as much residual waste as practically possible prior to final disposal.
Waste-to-energy provides a sustainable way of managing residual waste. Waste-to-energy technology is already playing a key role throughout the European Union. Every year over 400 plants convert almost 50 million tonnes of waste into renewable energy and provide an alternative to fossil fuels.