Report on potential of cutting greenhouse gases from waste

Brussels, 5 October 2011 – A new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) has found that there is a big potential to cut greenhouse gases (GHGs) from municipal solid waste management. The report covers the EU-27 (excluding Cyprus), Norway and Switzerland, and estimates that savings of up to 78 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) could be made by 2020, or 1.53% of Europe’s emissions in 2008.

The report takes a life-cycle approach to calculating emissions from waste, considering all direct emissions from waste during processing and transport, as well as accounting for emissions that are avoided in other parts of the economy, e.g. the reduction of emissions when fossil fuels are displaced by energy recovered from waste. In this way, the method can show the potential impacts of various waste management strategies.

The reports key finding included that a business-as-usual scenario would result in a cut of 44 million tonnes CO2-e net GHG emissions from municipal waste management by 2020 compared to 2008. If all countries fully meet the Landfill Directive’s waste diversion targets, a cut of 62 million tonnes CO2-e would be achieved. A complete ban on landfilling could cut emissions even further, reducing potential net emissions from waste management in 2020 by 78 million tonnes CO2-e compared to 2008.

For more information and to download the report, click here.

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