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Increased climate benefits thanks to European waste management

Client

European waste management associations

Year

2022


Can an appropriate European waste management system contribute to the achievement of the EU objectives of the Paris climate agreement? Together with CE Delft, we investigated this question for several European waste management associations.

High potential for CO2 reduction through proper waste management

The study highlights the link between increased recycling and the reduction of CO2 emissions from selected waste streams. It underlines the importance of the consistent implementation of the waste hierarchy and the important contribution that waste management makes to the European Union’s key policy objectives. Achieving the EU’s recycling target of 65 percent and the landfill target of a maximum of 10 percent will result in a reduction in CO2-eq emissions of 150 million tonnes compared to 2018.

Study results

  • In 2018, the waste management sector almost achieved CO2 neutrality (13 million tonnes of CO2-eq) for the 10 types of waste selected in the study.
  • If the current waste legislation is successfully implemented in the EU (27 Member States and the UK) by 2035 (Projection 1), CO2 emissions of -137 million tonnes of CO2-eq can be avoided. With the more ambitious Projection 2, the potential savings would almost double. The current net CO2 emission burden of 13 million tonnes of CO2-eq could lead to a net CO2-eq emission avoidance of -283 million tonnes of CO2-eq.
  • Currently, the biggest savings are to be achieved through the recycling of ferrous metal and aluminium and the associated substitution of primary raw materials.
  • The study shows that in the future, the greatest potential for the mitigation of climate-damaging CO2 emissions can be achieved by reducing the landfill of organic waste.

Links and downloads

The entire study (PDF)

Study flyer (PDF)

Peer Review (PDF)

Project team: Dr Bärbel Birnstengel, Richard Simpson, Romy Kölmel, Marijn Bijleveld (CE Delft)

Do you have questions?

Your contact at Prognos

Dr Bärbel Birnstengel

Principal

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Richard Simpson

Project Manager

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About us

Prognos – Providing Orientation.

Prognos is one of the oldest economic research centres in Europe. Founded at the University of Basel, Prognos experts have been conducting research for a wide range of clients from the public and private sectors since 1959 – politically independent, scientifically sound.

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