Based on China’s latest GHG inventory (2005), 1.5% of the total Chinese CO2 emissions originate from the waste sector, amounting to 111 Mt CO2e. Until 2030 China’s rapid urbanisation is expected to lead to 1 billion urban citizens and subsequently to an estimated annual emission reduction potential from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) of 230.4 Mt CO2e. Following its development targets and its nationally indented commitment towards a low-carbon and circular economy, China strengthens 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 reduction, circular economy, urbanisation and waste management, the NAMA Support Project (NSP) “China Integrated Waste Management NAMA” will demonstrate in 3 municipalities how integrated waste management and waste-to-energy systems can be operated as profitable business cases.
The project aims at capitalizing significant Chinese investments going into the waste sector by adding best available practices for integrated waste management in three pilot cities. It 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 emission reduction potential of the 3 demonstration 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 induced 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.