Low-Carbon Technologies: Recycling and Waste Minimization

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Recycling and waste minimization programs can be successful in reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills.  However, the amount of waste sent to landfills might still increase because such programs do not completely offset the business-as-usual increase in waste.  Some materials, such as aluminum and plastic, require energy-intensive methods of production.  Other materials, such as rubber, may be difficult to dispose of in environmentally-friendly ways.  Recycling these materials provides opportunities for significant GHG emissions reductions.  In Brazil, it is estimated that recycling can save 1.5-3.5 Mt of CO2 per year.  Waste prevention measures may also reduce GHG emissions, though the data are too sketchy to provide for accurate estimates according to one source.

Generally speaking, some stakeholder investment may be required for command-and-control policies to function effectively.