The EEA and its ETC/SCP have released a report on municipal solid waste (MSW) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The report is using a life cycle approach in order to investigate the implications in GHG terms of the developments in MSW management in the EU from 1990 to 2020.
The improvements observed in MSW management accross the EU have resulted in a significant GHG mitigation, cutting annual GHG emissions by 48 million tonnes from 1995 to 2008. The potential is even higher for the forecasted future, especially if the EU waste legislation is implemented fully. These GHG cuts are mainly an outcome of increased recycling and reduced landfiling due to, respectfully, saving the production of virgin materials and avoiding methane emissions.