The disposal and treatment of municipal waste is a major issue and problem in many parts of the developing world. As well as health and sanitary impacts, municipal waste is a major source of methane (CH4) emissions. Often municipal waste is left in unmanaged landfills – at these sites, the municipal waste will decompose under anaerobic conditions, and will emit CH4. CH4 is a potent GHG, with a contribution to global warming some 21 times that of CO2. As such, as well as the health benefits of managing municipal solid waste (MSW), there is also a global warming imperative to this problem.
CDM projects in the MSW sector therefore relate to CH4 mitigation, and include:
- Composting of MSW
- Bio-methanation of MSW to generate biogas and hence electricity
- Collection and incineration of MSW (e.g. through briquetting)
- Capture and destruction of methane from managed sanitary landfills