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Resource savings and CO2 reduction potentials in waste management in Europe and the possible contribution to the CO2 reduction target in 2020

While the industry has recognized the (market) potential of waste for a long time, policy-makers have only recently started to notice the other - positive - side of waste as a valuable resource and provider of energy. Over the last years, EU waste policy has gradually addressed the environmental impact of waste streams within the life cycle and linked waste policy with product and resource policy. 
A study by a team at Prognos AG in co-operation with the Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Dortmund and IFEU -Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg GmbH - supported by a unique coalition of European waste management associations - shows that the possibilities to reduce CO through modern and intelligent waste management are significant and offer real potential. Climate protection demands that all efforts to reduce CO2 emissions are made as soon as possible. The EU leaders committed to cutting emissions by at least 780 Mt CO2 equivalents until 2020 – in this endeavour, the role of modern waste management can be very important to reach these targets. In 2004 were already achieved significant contributions to CO2 reduction and resource savings, but improved waste management is offering additional, significant potential. Waste management in Europe can achieve an additional reduction in CO2 emissions of between 146 and 244 Mt and so contribute 19% - 31% of the European climate reduction targets. Politically, setting a clear framework (“divert-from-landfill”), allowing for flexibility and using market forces will be at least as crucial for the success of a new and intelligent waste management as continuing with reliable legal regulations.

The complete Study will be available on request. Please contact Mrs. Dr. Bärbel Birnstengel, E-Mail:

Autor: Holger Alwast, Dr. Bärbel Birnstengel, Arno Häusler, Nadja Schütz, Jutta Struwe, Thorsten Thörner

Jahr: 2008

Typ: Studie

Bereich: Infrastruktur & Verkehr

Themenfeld: Abfall & Rohstoffe

Tags: Umwelt, Klimawandel, Energieeffizienz, , renewable energy, Stromerzeugung, Abfall