Based on China’s latest GHG inventory (2005), 1.5 per cent of the total Chinese CO2 emissions originate from the waste sector, amounting to 111 Mt CO2e. By 2030, China’s rapid urbanisation is expected to lead to one billion urban citizens, with an estimated annual emission reduction potential of 230.4 Mt CO2e from municipal solid waste (MSW). Following its development targets and national commitment towards a low-carbon and circular economy, China is strengthening its efforts to reduce GHG emissions and increase the usage of urban waste for the production of energy. However, the transformation of the waste sector towards low-carbon pathways faces technical and capacity challenges.
Building on current Chinese plans for GHG emission reductions, circular economy, urbanisation and waste management, the NAMA Support Project (NSP) “China Integrated Waste Management NAMA” will demonstrate in three municipalities how integrated waste management and waste-to-energy systems can be operated as profitable business cases.
The project aims to capitalize on the significant Chinese investments entering the waste sector by supporting the best-available practices for integrated waste management in three pilot cities. It also intends to increase capacity of sector stakeholders. Policy advice provided to the Chinese government will aim to further reduce the existing market barriers currently hindering the sector’s transformation. By enabling the sector to make use of new income streams from the energy and carbon market, as well as matching private sector engagement in existing networks, the NSP will support the up-scaling of integrated waste management solutions in China.
The direct GHG emissions reduction potential of the three supported municipalities is estimated between 210,000 and 400,000 t CO2e per year, depending on waste composition and technologies applied. In addition, co-benefits such as reduced leakage and groundwater pollution, improved food safety due to the reduced feeding of unhygienic waste to livestock and the integration of “waste pickers” as qualified waste sector workers through appropriate training approaches are expected.