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Waste Emissions from Household Waste Forecast to Fall

Waste Emissions meaning 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. Is what we reported in February 2008.

Back in 2008, we said:

Forecast Shows Waste Emissions from Household Waste Will Fall

Image shows waste emissions during a landfill fire.

A landfill fire creates immediate emissions. Click to enlarge. – CC BY-SA by bcgrote

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 EU 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.  (The original article as published on the Let’s Recycle website is no longer available.)

Update (2019):

Waste Emissions in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced from Europe’s household waste are indeed thought to have been reduced progressively since about 2008, in the UK. So the prediction that set to drop “significantly” by 2020 in the UK has been achieved.

This is based on the fact that recycling has increased to an extent since 2008, and overall tonnages of waste set to landfill where they would ave been creating landfill gas has been reduced.

Household waste incineration capacity has risen a lot in the UK. Although incinerators do produce carbon dioxide during waste combustion the damaging GHG effect is much lower per unit of waste than for the landfill gas otherwise produced and most likely to escape in the atmosphere from a landfill.


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