Cutting landfill waste cuts CO2

EU countries could cut nearly 80 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020, according to the European Environment Agency. A new report suggests that slashing the amount of waste going to […]

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By Vicky Ellis

EU countries could cut nearly 80 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020, according to the European Environment Agency. A new report suggests that slashing the amount of waste going to landfill could reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) like methane by 1.5% of Europe’s 2008 emission levels.

Biodegradable waste produces GHGs when the organic matter decomposes anaerobically, which can affect climate change if it isn’t captured and used to make energy, said EEA.

Called ‘Waste opportunities – Past and future climate benefits from better municipal waste management in Europe’, the report suggests that a complete ban on landfilling could cut emissions by 78 million tonnes, more than Hungary’s total emissions in 2008. A less severe option with emphasis on recycling could cut 44 million tonnes.

Last year the UK carried out its own Waste Review, when Defra found that waste going to landfill has nearly halved since 2000, with household recycling rates now at 40%. Defra is looking at plans for a landfill restriction on wood waste, and bans on other materials, such as metals, textiles and all biodegradable waste.