More recycling and Waste-to-Energy (WtE) will reduce net Green House Gas emissions.
This is the conclusion of several studies:
The European Environment Agency states1:“Increased recovery of waste and diverting waste away from landfill play a key role in tackling the environmental impacts of increasing waste volumes. As recycling and incineration with energy recovery are increasingly used, net greenhouse gas emissions from municipal waste management are expected to drop considerably by 2020.”
Also a study by Ökopol2 points out that “the sources of CO2equ savings are mainly the avoided primary production from primary resources and the avoided emissions from landfilling”. They calculated that a further 89 million tonnes of CO2equ could be saved per year assuming a recycling scenario of 50% + for municipal waste. This scenario is based on an increase in the average incineration rate to 25% (from 18% in 2005) and a reduction of landfilling to 22% (from 45% in 2005) in EU 27.
Prognos3 found that there is a potential to reduce CO2equ emissions between 146 and 244 million tonnes by 2020. This is possible, according to Prognos, if inter alia: “calorific and biodegradable waste is diverted from landfill more support is given to recycling and WtE” The study, which was undertaken on behalf of a number of recycling and other waste management companies, also came to the conclusion that “WtE does not hamper recycling”.