Long-term outlook, systems transitions
To minimize future GHG emissions from the waste sector, it is important to preserve local options for a wide range of integrated and sustainable management strategies. Furthermore, primary reductions in waste generation through recycling, re-use, and waste minimization can provide substantial benefits for the conservation of raw materials and energy. Over the long term, because landfills continue to produce CH4 for decades, landfill gas recovery will be required at existing landfills even as many countries change to non-landfilling technologies such as incineration, industrial co-combustion, mechanical-biological treatment, large-scale composting and anaerobic digestion. In addition, the ‘back-up’ landfill will continue to be a critical component of municipal solid waste planning. In developing countries, investment in improved waste and wastewater management confers significant co-benefits for public health and safety, environmental protection and infrastructure development.