Integrated waste management as a climate change stabilization wedge for the Maletese Islands

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Falzon, Clyde
JMU Scholarly Commons
stabilisation wedges strategy; integrated waste management stabilisation wedge; climate change; greenhouse gas emissions modelling; waste management in Malta; life cycle assessment
thesis / dissertation description
Planet Earth is finding difficulty in dealing with the continuous increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. This is leading to change in climate which leads to extensive damage to communities, ecosystems and resources. This study is focussed on the waste sector which is the second largest greenhouse gas emitter in the Maltese islands after the energy (including transport) sector. Moreover, if practiced according to standards, waste management can lead to emission reduction. This work is based on the stabilisation wedges strategy and specifically focused on the integrated waste management wedge. Moreover in this work a life cycle assessment methodology is implemented. Ten different scenarios applicable to the Maltese municipal solid waste management sector are analysed. These scenarios are accompanied by a causal loop diagram to enhance the understanding of the Malta’s waste management variables. The calculations are performed through the IPPC-Model and the SWM-GHG Calculator. From the calculations performed, 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 16.6Mt less CO2-e gases would be emitted over the next 50 years by means of this integrated waste management stabilisation wedge when compared to the business-as-usual scenario. This work shows that in order to be effective, these results must be put into practice within a policy framework that includes certain concepts such as Integrated Waste Management, the Precautionary Principle, and Extended Producer Responsibility amongst others. Moreover the implementation stage must cater for Malta’s specific necessities. The work also highlights the importance of waste separation and collaboration between the stakeholders involved.