Greenhouse gas emissions produced from Europe’s household waste are set to drop “significantly” by 2020, according to the first study into the net impact of Europe’s waste on climate change.
Landfill sites are believed to be responsible for most of Europe’s current greenhouse gas emissions which derive from household waste.
However, the report from the European Environment Agency has predicted that domestic waste volumes will at the same time grow by 25% when compared to 2005 – providing ongoing challenges for the waste management industry.
According to the study – which used an economic model for projecting future waste volumes – greenhouse gases from European municipal waste will fall by more than 80% in 2020 when compared to the late 1980’s. This is a drop of more than 10 million tonnes.
The change is expected to derive from Europe’s success from diverting waste away from landfill for recycling and incineration, driven by legislation such as the Landfill Directive.
Methane from landfill sites is believed to be largely responsible for municipal waste contributing 2% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2005.
However, the EEA and partner the European Topic Centre of Resource and Waste Management have warned that increasing waste amounts could lead to “saturation” and increasing emissions if the waste was managed inefficiently. In particular, waste from European countries new to the EU is expected to grow, they said. More…