EEA: EU waste laws key to emissions savings

Brussels, 8 September 2011 – Full implementation of the EU’s landfill directive could avoid 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent being emitted each year by 2020, according to a study released by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on Monday.

Improvements in the management of municipal waste since 1995 have already cut annual CO2e emissions by 48Mt across the EU, Switzerland and Norway, the EEA finds. This is mainly due to increased recycling and lower methane emissions from landfill.

If the same trends continue, emissions from waste management will be 44Mt lower in 2020, the EEA says. However, the diversion targets for biodegradable waste set by the landfill directive could yield a further 18Mt reduction in emissions.

A complete ban on landfilling municipal solid waste would be even more effective, reducing net emissions in 2020 by 78 million tonnes compared to 2008. This is unlikely, but the European Commission is considering whether to take further measures to address biodegradable waste.

For the EEA report, click here, and for the press release, click here.

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