Waste sector was responsible for 1.5% of Ireland's Greenhouse Gas emissions in 2018.

The waste sector includes emission estimates from Solid waste disposal, Composting, waste incineration, open burning of waste and wastewater treatment and discharge. The largest of these sources is solid waste disposal on land (landfills) where CH4 is the gas concerned. 

Emissions from the Waste sector decreased by 2.8% in 2018, with decreases in sub categories; Landfills and wastewater treatment and discharge of 3.5% and 0.2% respectively. Overall emissions decreased by 0.03 Mt CO2eq compared to 2017 emissions. Long-term decreases are a result of decreased quantities of municipal solid wastes (MSW) disposed of at landfills and a decrease in the proportion of organic materials (food and garden waste) in MSW as well as a diversion of paper products from landfills. Improved management of landfill facilities, including increased recovery of landfill gas utilised for electricity generation and flaring is also a big driver in decreased emissions from the waste sector.

At the time of publication in June 2019 the emissions projections figures, which had a baseline inventory as 1990-2017, show waste sector emissions decreasing by 52% between 2018 and 2030 to 0.44 Mt CO2eq under the With Existing Measures scenario.

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Waste emissions and projections (WEM) 1990-2030

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The line graph below also shows a sensitivity assessment performed on the With Existing Measures scenario which is based on a scenario where an additional 350,000 tonnes per year requires landfill management. This has the impact of increasing emissions by approximately 0.7 Mt CO2eq over the 2018-2030 projected period.

Projections from the Waste Sector under the With Existing Measures (WEM) and With Additional Measures (WAM) scenario out to 2030, including a sensitivity assessment for the WEM scenario based on an increase in municipal solid waste going to landfill

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