Amsterdam to try again to sell its massive waste incinerator

Photo: Brandon Hartley

Amsterdam is to press ahead with its plans to sell the city’s waste incineration plant AEB, following the competition authority’s refusal to sanction a sale to Rotterdam peer AVR.

The anti-cartel body said last week the €450 million takeover by the Chinese-owned Rotterdam firm would distort competition. Now the city’s executive board has decided to seek a new buyer but will keep the unit used to separate recyclable waste.

The city’s board says they are convinced that the sale will not have an impact on plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions and other sustainability targets and will impose additional conditions on buyers to guarantee this.

The Parool points out that the AEB is now likely to be sold to a foreign buyer, given the competition authority’s stance.

By keeping the waste separation unit, the city will also keep control of its recycling programme. Just 33% of Amsterdam waste is currently separated prior to collection, according to the Parool, and the city stopped asking households to keep their plastic waste separate in 2020.

Amsterdam decided to sell off the AEB in 2021 following a period of financial uncertainty. In 2019, four of the six incinerators had to be closed down for a time because of poor maintenance, and the city had to pump in €35m to stop the plant going bust.

The company hit the headlines in April with the news it is importing a huge volume of waste from Rome for incineration.

The AEB, located in the western harbour, has been processing waste from Britain for 10 years, and also has deals with Belgium, Germany, Iceland and France, the company told Dutch News.

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