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In its “Zero Waste to Zero Emissions” report released Tuesday, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives described source reduction and waste diversion efforts as critical to climate mitigation and adaptation.
Ultimately, a zero waste model can transform the waste sector — which contributes to global methane emissions — into a net-negative source of greenhouse gas emissions, the report states. Cities that adopt a zero waste approach could reduce emissions by as much as 84%, and could in turn lower the emissions in mining, forestry, manufacturing and energy by leveraging recycled materials.
The report highlighted the power of composting to reduce landfill methane emissions and boost soil resilience, and called for bans on single-use plastics. It also said the sector’s various energy recovery strategies are not effective, saying landfill gas capture is “unreliable” and describing incineration as “a major source of GHG emissions.”