Organic waste in landfills is one of the largest sources of methane emissions, and yet few are talking about it as a part of the global race to carbon neutrality. During Climate Week, Delterra led an event in partnership with the United Nations Climate and Clean Air Coalition and the Global Methane Hub to address opportunities to curb emissions through organic waste management.
- Carolina Urmeneta L., Program Director – Circular Economy, Global Methane Hub
- Federico di Penta, LatAm Regional Director, Delterra
- Alina Gabdrakhmanova, Global Knowledge and Insights Manager, Delterra
- Sandra Cavalieri, UN Climate & Clear Air Coalition
The webinar added an important layer to the ongoing conversations during climate week, with an emphasis on the need for more collaboration across sectors to tackle both the growing waste crisis and rising methane emissions.
The numbers don’t lie – waste is part of the problem
Both Federico from Delterra and Carolina from the Methane Hub provided the case for more attention being put on the waste sector as part of the solution to achieving carbon neutrality. Carolina shared several slides (download here) that show 18% of methane emissions come from waste and methane warming is 86% stronger than that of carbon dioxide. Federico added that new technology can better measure methane emissions from landfills now and it’s been reported that 50% of methane emissions in the city of Buenos Aires is from one landfill. Those are just a sampling of the new data that is pushing governments to rethink their waste management systems.
Redesigning the system
Both speakers provided several ways to approach the problem, including developing capacities to understand the emissions, designing specific solutions like composting plants and creating demand for organic materials after compost. Federico from Delterra shared the model Rethinking Recycling is using to develop holistic waste management systems at the municipality level. This includes shifting local behaviors to separate their waste, building capacity – organic waste facilities and finding the needed buyers and creating demand for the organic materials.
Governments can’t do it alone
As local governments deal with an unstable economy and recovery from a pandemic – both speakers agree, they can’t make the needed changes alone. Speakers called on the private sector to do more to support funding for projects that build local government capacity for organic waste programs.
One thing is clear, we must start to have more conversations and create collaborative tracks for tackling this issue one city at a time.