Historical GHG Emissions: Waste Management Across All Regions

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Emissions from the sector amount to less than 5% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions. According to a study performed by the U.S. EPA (2006), the waste sector contributed 2-3% of global anthropogenic emissions in Annex 1 (industrialized countries and economies in transition) and EIT countries (countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy under the UNFCCC), and 4.3% in non-Annex 1 countries.

Estimates for future emissions are driven by several factors. In developing countries, increased usage of landfill CH4 recovery, decreased landfilling, and decreased waste generation is expected to continue do to successful policy initiatives. These factors reduce overall emissions from the waste sector. Conversely, increases in population, urbanization, and economic growth are expected to increase GHG emissions, particularly CH4 emissions from wastewater, which are anticipated to increase 50% from 1990-2020.

Quantifying historical and future emissions in the waste sector is difficult because data for many countries are lacking or incomplete. Standardizing terminology for waste statistics is a key issue facing this sector.