Solid Waste Management and Greenhouse Gases: A Life-Cycle Assessment of Emissions and Sinks
In the 21st century, management of municipal solid waste continues to be an important environmental challenge. Climate change is also a serious issue, and the United States is embarking on a number of voluntary actions to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases that can intensify climate change. This report examines how municipal solid waste management and climate change are related.
Management of municipal solid waste presents many opportunities for greenhouse gas emission reductions. Source reduction and recycling can reduce emissions at the manufacturing stage, increase forest carbon storage, and avoid landfill methane emissions.
Combustion of waste allows energy recovery to displace fossil fuel-generated electricity from utilities, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the utility sector and landfill methane emissions. Diverting organic materials from landfills also reduces methane emissions.
Download the EPA’s full report.
Background Document on the Effect of Paper Recycling on Forest Carbon
Download the EPA’s background document