Company NewsWaste Management

What’s the issue with the Dutch Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) tax?

What’s the issue with the Dutch Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) tax?

In 2019, the issue of the Dutch RDF tax was hotly debated in the waste management industry. As of 1st January 2020, this tax has come into effect. But what is RDF and what are its implications?

What is RDF?

Using non-recyclable waste as an energy source is one way to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. It’s known as refuse-derived fuel (RDF). Waste is processed and then transported to energy from waste plants, like our Energy from Waste facility at Rabbit.

What has the Dutch government done?

In an effort to tackle climate change, the Dutch government has imposed a tax on the import of waste. There is now a €31 per tonne charge on the import of RDF for incineration, and although it faced opposition from the Dutch Waste Management Association, the tax has gone ahead.

How does it affect the UK?

The Dutch government estimates that as much as 25% of waste processed in their energy from waste facilities come from outside the country, including the UK. In fact, some 14% of the UK’s residual waste is exported, with almost half destined for the Netherlands. Now that the new tax has been introduced, it could become too expensive for the UK to export its waste and more would be sent to landfill. Sweden is looking to introduce a similar tax on incineration, that will come into force from April.

What’s being done?

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) is the body that works to transform waste and resource management in the UK and represents 85% of the sector. In June, it published a report about Energy from Waste and the Circular Economy in the UK, promoting further introductions of Energy from Waste facilities to convert non-recyclable waste into heat and power, and diverting the ash to roads and construction projects. It recommends addressing the residual waste gap to provide long-term regulatory certainty.

To find out more about skip hire in West Sussex and our Energy from Waste facility, contact Rabbit. Reach us on 01903 762020 or email