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

10.5 Policies and measures: waste management and climate

GHG emissions from waste are directly affected by numerous policy and regulatory strategies that encourage energy recovery from waste, restrict choices for ultimate waste disposal, promote waste recycling and re-use, and encourage waste minimization. In many developed countries, especially Japan and the EU, waste-management policies are closely related to and integrated with climate policies. Although policy instruments within the waste sector consist mainly of regulations, there are also economic measures to promote recycling, waste minimization and selected waste management technologies. In industrialized countries, waste minimization and recycling are encouraged through both policy and regulatory drivers. In developing countries, major policies are aimed at restricting the uncontrolled dumping of waste. Table 10.6 provides an overview of policies and measures, some of which are discussed below.

Table 10.6: Examples of policies and measures for the waste management sector.

Policies and measures Activity affected GHG affected Type of instruments 
Reducing landfill CH4 emissions 
Standards for landfill performance to reduce landfill CH4 emissions by capture and combustion of landfill gas with or without energy recovery Management of landfill sites CH4 Regulation  
Economic Incentive 
Reduction in biodegradable waste that is landfilled. Disposal of biodegradable waste CH4 Regulation 
Promoting incineration and other thermal processes for waste-to-energy 
Subsidies for construction of incinerator combined with standards for energy efficiency Performance standards for incinerators CO2 Regulation 
Tax exemption for electricity generated by waste incineration with energy recovery Energy recovery from incineration of waste CO2 Economic incentive 
Promoting waste minimization, re-use and recovery 
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Manufacture of products CO2 Regulation 
Recovery of used products CH4 Voluntary 
 Disposal of waste Fluorinated gases   
Unit pricing / Variable rate pricing / Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) Recovery of used products CO2 Economic incentive 
Disposal of waste CH4   
Landfill tax Recovery of used products CO2 Regulation 
Disposal of waste CH4   
Separate collection and recovery of specific waste fractions Recovery of used products CO2 Subsidy 
Disposal of waste CH4   
Promotion of the use of recycled products Manufacturing of products CO2 Regulation 
 CH4 Voluntary 
Wastewater and sludge treatment 
Collection of CH4 from wastewater treatment system Management of wastewater treatment system CH4 Regulation 
Post-consumer management of fluorinated gases 
Substitutes for gases used commercially Production of fluorinated gases Fluorinated gases Regulation 
 Economic incentive 
Collection of fluorinated gases from end-of-life products Management of end-of-life products Fluorinated gases Regulation 
JI and CDM in waste management sector 
JI and CDM Landfill gas and biogas recovery CO2 Kyoto mechanism