This report has been prepared for Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s work on international climate justice.
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Currently, much of our biodegradable waste such as food, garden waste, card and paper is sent to landfill, where it breaks down to release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a treatment that composts this waste in the absence of oxygen, producing a biogas that can be used to generate electricity and heat.
The Friends of the Earth's presentation on Zero Waste.
Waste policy has important climate change impacts, from, at one end, the emission savings by waste prevention or from recycling, to at the other end, the problem of methane emissions from landfill. Waste prevention is the most beneficial option from a climate point of view, followed by reuse and recycling; landfill and incineration are worse options. The UK Government is currently reviewing England’s waste policy, and is proposing to process 25% through energy from waste.
The European Parliament is currently discussing its report on the Commission’s “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe”. In Friends of the Earth’s and the EEB’s view, the Parliament needs to provide leadership on the following issues: Indicators: Europe must measure its consumption of key natural resources, using effective and workable indicators: land footprint, water footprint, carbon footprint and material use footprint.
This report explores three different commodities – lithium, aluminium and cotton – to exemplify how our linear consumption patterns (extraction, manufacture, use and disposal) not only have major social, economic and environmental impacts, but also represent a missed opportunity for job creation and global resource security.