The waste sector is responsible for nearly 20% of anthropogenic methane emissions. The Global Methane Assessment (UNEP and CCAC, 2021) found that existing targeted measures focused on solid waste management and wastewater treatment could reduce methane emissions from the waste sector by 29–36 million tonnes per year by 2030 while delivering important health and economic development benefits. Around 60% of waste-sector targeted measures have either negative or low cost and bring additional benefits for nature and human health. Waste management is a problem in many parts of the planet: tackling methane emissions from waste implies tackling this critical issue. Waste policies and actions should be aligned with the waste hierarchy: prevention, re-use, recycling, energy recovery and, finally, disposal in landfills. Examples of concrete actions include reducing food waste, separate collection of (organic) waste, valorisation of organic waste through anaerobic digestion, separation or improved sustainable consumption. Also methane emissions from existing landfills can be, to some extent, captured and valorised.

Launched in November 2022, the GMP Waste Pathway focuses on reducing emissions across the solid waste value chain, from upstream sources to downstream disposal sites. 

 

Key initiatives under the GMP waste pathway have also made new headways

The Inter-American Development Bank launches the ‘Too Good to Waste’ for Latin America and the Caribbean

At COP28, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) lauched a regional initiative, ‘Too Good to Waste’, f which aims to contribute at least a 30% reduction in methane emissions in solid waste operations in Latin America and the Caribbean financed by the Bank, including three recently approved projects totaling $372.5 million.  

This initiative will include a portfolio of technical studies on bankable methane-reducing waste management projects. The objective of the initiative is to mobilize investment by including measurement and targets for methane emission mitigation in the loan operations of the waste portfolio of the IDB in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).  

The initiative will also harmonize the measurement and monitoring of organic waste methane mitigation, develop business plans for financial sustainability, and conduct behavioral change campaigns, capacity building, and knowledge dissemination.  

New Lowering Organic Waste Methane Initiative aims to deliver at least 1 million metric tons of annual waste sector methane reductions well before 2030 

At COP28, a coalition of international partners launched Lowering Organic Waste Methane (LOW-Methane),a new initiative to jumpstart a dramatic scale-up of global action to cut methane emissions from the waste sector.   

The ambition of LOW-Methane is to deliver at least 1 million metric tons of annual waste sector methane reductions well before 2030 working with 40 subnational jurisdictions and their national government counterparts, and to unlock over $10 billion in public and private investment.  

LOW-Methane will support action across the waste value chain, from reducing food loss and waste to diverting and treating organics in the waste stream to cutting emissions from disposal sites, in line with waste management hierarchies that emphasize the relative benefits of various waste management approaches.  LOW-Methane will also work to boost equity and create healthier communities by supporting efforts that advance multiple benefits, including methane abatement, and by working in partnership with the informal waste sector. 

Climate and Clean Air Coalition shares Best Practices from Waste Management Protocols

The CCAC has been working with its partners to mitigate methane from the waste sector by sharing best practices on waste management. It also assists countries and cities to adopt policy and regulatory tools to increase the diversion of organic waste, as well as the installation of landfill control systems and the use of the collected landfill gas.  

The CCAC has been responding to requests from partner countries to remove barriers to upscaling waste methane projects. For example, in Argentina, the CCAC provides to demonstrate the feasibility of transforming organic waste streams into valuable products. Likewise, for Buenos Aires, the CCAC supported the development of a strategy for the management of organic waste in the city. To ensure financial sustainability, in Costa Rica, CCAC supported a project to propose business models for organic waste recovery projects, including the creation of public-private alliances and the identification of financial mechanisms. A CCAC project in Peru seeks to demonstrate the use of black soldier fly technology as a viable and scalable technological solution for the treatment of organic waste in Lima.  

The CCAC will also support more countries with assessments to mitigate methane from the waste sector, including in Benin, Maldives, and Jordan, and provide capacity building to reduce SLCP emissions from the waste sector in Togo. It has also allocated nearly US$1 million to support “transformation action in the waste sector” organic waste projects in Latin America and Africa. 

Just ahead of COP28, The CCAC Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (CCAC-TEAP), co-chaired by Ireland and Senegal, released a brief on Driving Innovation and Technology in the Waste Sector. 

Rocky Mountain Institute and Clean Air Task Force Launch Waste Assessment Platform

In December 2023, RMI and Clean Air Task Force, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON)/GHGSat, and Carbon Mapper with funding from the Global Methane Hub and Google.org, will launch the Waste Methane Assessment Platform (Waste MAP) as an accessible online tool that highlights emissions, mitigation opportunities, and best practices to reduce solid waste methane emissions, providing a clear pathway for achieving the Global Methane Pledge and other national and subnational greenhouse gas reduction targets. Waste MAP consists of two overarching activities. The first is an open-source online platform designed to collect and improve the availability and robustness of global waste sector data and enable methane emissions transparency, as well as identify areas for priority intervention to enable resource deployment. The platform will include several map layers (country, city, site) of methane emissions from waste, a decision support tool that allows users to understand methane impacts of alternative waste management practices, strategic playbooks for waste methane mitigation, and case studies. The second is country engagement to provide ongoing data gathering and engagement at the national and subnational levels in select countries. This engagement is intended to be complementary to the platform and create a feedback loop in which improved, on-the-ground data is fed into the platform. RMI and CATF will work in Colombia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Nigeria, and the United States.

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Global Food Banking Network Seeks to Formalise Food Saving, Methane Reducing Models

In 2022, food banks in The Global Food Banking Network’s (GFN) 44-country network helped provide food to more than 32 million people while recovering approximately 386 million kilograms of surplus food and avoiding nearly 1.5 billion kilograms of CO2-equivalent emissions from food decomposition. GFN’s Global Methane Hub-sponsored project, “Quantifying and Increasing Methane Reductions through Community-led Food Recovery & Redistribution,” seeks to demonstrate that food banks can play a critical role in reducing food loss, reducing methane emissions and providing food to the most vulnerable populations. The project is preliminarily being implemented in two Latin American countries, Mexico and Ecuador, working closely with food banks BAMX (Mexico) and Food Bank of Quito – BAQ (Ecuador). The project seeks to develop a high-quality and transparent methodology to measure methane reductions from food recovery and redistribution. This will include identifying technologies to capture food redistribution data in an efficient, traceable, and transparent way. The project includes policy support for stakeholders in Mexico and Ecuador to advance policies that foster food redistribution based on best-practice legal research and real-world case studies. Alongside policy support, economic models for food bank sustainability will be developed in the project. The project aims to expand the project to sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia and develop a global approach to measure and track the reduction of methane emissions through food banking.

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Food Loss and Waste Partnerships Facility Invests in Upscaling Technologies

The Food Loss and Waste (FLW) Partnership Facility is co-investing with private sector partners in Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, and Tanzania to increase the uptake and scaling of technologies and management practices that reduce food loss and waste while reducing methane emissions. These FLW partnerships will address food insecurity with an emphasis on nutritious crops and reduce the global food system's vulnerability to the impacts of systemic shocks by saving the food we produce. The Feed the Future FLW Partnership Facility has finalized 24-month partnership agreements with Chanzi (Tanzania) and Kentaste (Kenya). In Kentatse, the FLW facility will establish a new product line of shelf-stable coconut water from produce that was previously wasted.

Global Methane Initiative Promotes Waste Methane Tools

The Global Methane Initiative (GMI), a partnership of 47 countries and several hundred private sector organizations, develops and disseminates resources that help stakeholders assess the technical and financial feasibility of methane mitigation projects, including estimating potential emissions reductions. In total, since 2004, GMI partners and project members have achieved approximately 578 million metric tonnes of CO2e reductions. In 2022, through GMI, more than 2,000 people received training about reducing methane emissions and capturing methane for productive uses. In the municipal solid waste sector, since the launch of the Pledge, GMI has conducted extensive outreach to promote the following resources that advance methane mitigation through recovery and use:

Global Methane Hub Collaborates to Develop Formalize Environmental Justice Values and Principles 

Global Methane Hub’s Project Preparation Facilities Initiative is actively collaborating with various organizations, including Recilo Organicos LAC (see below), C40, and Instituto Polis, among others. Our goal is to provide technical and financial support to expedite the implementation of methane mitigation projects. We are currently engaged in projects spanning more than 30 cities, have identified a pipeline of over 80 projects, and are in the process of developing feasibility studies and business models. Progress is also being made concerning the Food Loss and Waste Recovery agenda. In collaboration with GFN, WRI, and ReFed, we are working in the Americas and India. GMH aims to unveil a methane mitigation methodology for Food Loss and Waste (FLW) recovery and introduce a Food Recovery MAP for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region at COP28. Additionally, the "Environmental Justice Values and Principles Guideline for the Waste Sector" has been developed by GAIA in conjunction with more than 100 local organizations and collaboration with subnational governments. In 2024, we will actively promote the consideration of these values and principles as part of the new NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) cycle.

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