IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

10.4 Mitigation of post-consumer emissions from waste

10.4.1 Waste management and GHG-mitigation technologies

A wide range of mature technologies is available to mitigate GHG emissions from waste. These technologies include landfilling with landfill gas recovery (reduces CH4 emissions), 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, 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. There are many appropriate low- to high-technology strategies discussed in this section (see Figure 10.7 for a qualitative comparison of technologies). At the ‘high technology’ end, there are also advanced thermal processes for waste such as pyrolysis and gasification, which are beginning to be applied in the EU, Japan and elsewhere. Because of variable feedstocks and high unit costs, these processes have not been routinely applied to mixed municipal waste at large scale (thousands of tonnes per day). Costs and potentials are addressed in Section 10.4.7.

Figure 10.7

Figure 10.7: Technology gradient for waste management: major low- to high-technology options applicable to large-scale urban waste management

Note: MBT=Mechanical Biological Treatment.