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- The waste management sector generates a minor portion of total anthropogenic emission. The sector is in a position to serve as a GHG saver for other sectors by preventing and recovering waste (UNEP, 2010).
The potential for this sector includes landfill CH4 recovery; waste incineration with energy recovery; composting of organic waste; controlled wastewater treatment; recycling and waste minimization (IPCC, 2007).
Post-consumer waste is a small contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. The largest source is landfill methane (CH4), followed by wastewater CH4 and nitrous oxide (NO); in addition, minor emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) result from incineration of waste containing fossil carbon (C) (plastics; synthetic textiles).
A wide range of mature technologies is available to mitigate GHG emissions from waste. These technologies include landfilling with landfill gas recovery (reduces CH4emissions), post-consumer recycling (avoids waste generation), composting of selected waste fractions (avoids GHG generation), and processes that reduce GHG generation compared to landfilling (thermal processes including incineration and industrial co-combustion, Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) with landfilling of residuals, and anaerobic digestion). Therefore, the mitigation of GHG emissions from waste relies on multiple technologies whose application depends on local, regional and national drivers for both waste management and GHG mitigation.
- UNEP. 2010. Waste and Climate Change: Global Trends and Strategy Framework. http://www.unep.or.jp/ietc/Publications/spc/Waste&ClimateChange/Waste&ClimateChange.pdf
- IPCC. 2007. IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007. https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/mains4-3.html