Eunomia was commissioned by TOMRA to undertake research to examine the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission savings that can be made by using secondary material in place of virgin material, and savings that can be made by undertaking mixed waste sorting (MWS) prior to incineration and landfill.

The report finds that adding MWS – a key part of the good practice waste management systems outlined in our previous report in the Waste in the Net-Zero Century series – to both incineration and landfilling processes could avoid up to 464 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year globally by 2030.

Our research shows that adding MWS prior to incineration saves around 0.35 tonnes of CO2e per tonne of input mixed waste, while adding MWS to landfilling saves around 0.31 tonnes of CO2e per tonne of input mixed waste.

The report provides a focused analysis of PP and HDPE plastics, including the emissions benefit of recycling those materials, finding that per tonne of final product around one tonne of CO2e emissions can be saved from the use of secondary rather than virgin materials.

Our research also finds that implementing formal waste management of waste currently disposed of in open dumps or open burning could save an additional 291 to 372 million tonnes of CO2e. These additional savings combined with the savings made from applying MWS to waste prior to incineration or landfilling could bring total savings to 649 to 836 million tonnes of CO2e per year, approximately equivalent to Germany’s total emissions in 2019.

This report is available free of charge. Please provide a few details about yourself and one of the team will email you the full report shortly.