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Pollution | 8 March 2021

Greenhouse Gas and Air Quality Impacts of Incineration and Landfill
Air pollution

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Greenhouse Gas and Air Quality Impacts of Incineration and Landfill

This report was commissioned by ClientEarth to examine the greenhouse gas and air quality impacts of alternative approaches to the treatment of residual waste. The study considered the following:
• Landfill;
• Landfill with pre-treatment and bio-stabilisation;
• Incineration; and
• Incineration with pre-treatment.

The report focuses on the following impacts:
1) The greenhouse gas emissions produced (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen dioxide emitted in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of waste treated).
2) The impacts on human health (monetised impacts of air pollution per tonne of waste treated).

Critically, this work takes both current and forward-looking perspectives. The impacts of current waste treatment per tonne of waste are calculated in a ‘Today’ scenario using Eunomia’s bespoke modelling tools.

Perhaps more importantly (because EfW facilities can be in operation for up to 30 years), this study also considers environmental impacts into the future, using 2035 as the basis year for comparison. This ‘Expected-2035’ scenario examines how the likely changes in residual waste composition and the provision of electricity and heat will affect the greenhouse gas performance of residual waste technologies.