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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 5:22 EDT

ISWA Calls Attention To Important Contribution Of Waste Sector To Reduce Substantial CO2 Emissions

December 8, 2009

International Solid Waste Association releases white paper

The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) calls the attention of the delegates of the UN COP15 to the important contribution of the waste sector to reduce substantial CO2-emissions.

In its White Paper on Waste & Climate Change (December 2009, www.iswa.org) ISWA confirms that significant CO2-emission reductions can be achieved through the better management of solid wastes (i.e., residential and commercial rubbish). Investments in waste management in developed countries can lead to net emission savings of up to 20% (this includes reduced emissions plus the avoided emissions from recycling materials and energy recovery).

For example, in the European Union it is estimated that municipal waste management activities alone can potentially account for 18% of the Kyoto CO2 reduction target set for the EU-15. These reductions can be achieved solely through investments in accepted practices and proven solid waste management techniques.

Importantly, nearly 20% of today’s Clean Development Mechanism programs on CO2-emission reductions are waste sector projects. Waste management projects offer affordable investments to deliver net reductions.

To Achieve the Greatest Impact

In most developing countries the potential for net reductions is even larger. Government programs and the private sector can focus on the elimination of open dumping of waste through improved waste collection and developing environmentally-sound waste management systems. Such systems include sustainable landfills to capture and treat methane emissions, composting, or other approaches.

For the developed world, promoting improved practices (including high efficiency energy recovery from waste) will further reduce CO2 emissions while limiting dependence on fossil fuels. Expansions of composting and recycling programs are good examples that deliver CO2 reductions and produce less demand for primary natural resources.

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