Integrated waste management as a climate change stabilisation wedge for the Maltese islands.Waste Manag Res. 2013 Jan; 31(1):73-9.WM
The continuous increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions occurring since the Industrial Revolution is offering significant ecological challenges to Earth. These emissions are leading to climate changes which bring about extensive damage to communities, ecosystems and resources. The analysis in this article is focussed on the waste sector within the Maltese islands, which is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the archipelago following the energy and transportation sectors. This work shows how integrated waste management, based on a life cycle assessment methodology, acts as an effective stabilisation wedge strategy for climate change. Ten different scenarios applicable to the Maltese municipal solid waste management sector are analysed. It is shown that the scenario that is most coherent with the stabilisation wedges strategy for the Maltese islands consists of 50% landfilling, 30% mechanical biological treatment and 20% recyclable waste export for recycling. It is calculated that 16.6 Mt less CO2-e gases would be emitted over 50 years by means of this integrated waste management stabilisation wedge when compared to the business-as-usual scenario. These scientific results provide evidence in support of policy development in Malta that is implemented through legislation, economic instruments and other applicable tools.