Recycling and efficient material use could have big impact says IPCC


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that recycling and efficient use of materials could have a big impact on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from industry.

In its report, Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, the panel notes that industry accounted for 30 per cent of global GHG emissions in 2010 and this is predicted to rise by 50 per cent to 150 per cent by 2050.


However, the report said: “Improvements in GHG emission efficiency and in the efficiency of material use, recycling and reuse of materials and products, and overall reductions in product demand (eg through a more intensive use of products) and service demand could, in addition to energy efficiency, help reduce GHG emissions below the baseline level in the industry sector.

“Many emission-reducing options are cost-effective, profitable and associated with multiple co-benefits (better environmental compliance, health benefits etc). In the long term, a shift to low-carbon electricity, new industrial processes, radical product innovations (eg alternatives to cement), or CCS (to mitigate process emissions) could contribute to significant GHG emission reductions.

“Lack of policy and experiences in material and product service efficiency are the major barriers.”

It also said that options for mitigation in waste management are waste reduction followed by reuse, recycling and energy recovery with waste and waste water accounting for 1.5 GtCO2eq in 2010.

Globally, it says the share of municipal waste that is recycled is only 20 per cent and that “waste treatment technologies and recovering energy to reduce demand for fossil fuels can result in significant direct emission reductions from waste disposal”.