Our work to increase the understanding about the connections between waste and climate change centred on the massive impact that zero waste solutions can have for the creation of a low-carbon economy. In September we launched a series of blog posts in the lead up to the Paris Climate Summit laying out how zero waste strategies contribute to mitigate climate change and build resilient local economies with case studies in four different regions of the world, groundbreaking composting schemes in Brazil
, the amazing progress towards zero waste made in Kerala, India
, recycling workers the United States organising for a better livelihood
, and the Alternatiba festival in Paris, France
highlighting alternatives and zero waste solutions to climate change.
We also provided analysis and further accountability to the flows of European climate finance to the waste sector in the Global South, frequently misdirected to support the burning of waste in incinerators or cement plants. Our investigation focused on NAMAs (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action), in Costa Rica, India and Colombia, showing that there is a need to ensure that climate finance supports truly sustainable, low-carbon and toxic-free options in the waste sector.
In this way, we continued to challenge false solutions to climate change, such as extreme & dirty energy from waste, often proposed as a ‘green-washing’ of incineration technology with so-called ‘Waste-to-Energy’ incineration.
In the run-up to the COP21, we were able to highlight the continued threat to air quality caused by incinerators and cement kiln co-incineration, often promoted as “solutions” to climate change. In November we produced a report documenting multiple breaches of legally defined emission limits, limits which are already significantly higher than recommended safety limits by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The report included cases studies that illustrate air pollution standard breaches took place in at least 5 incineration facilities across Europe, presenting potential environmental and public health safety risks, particularly for surrounding communities. This report was released in the context of the Second International Gathering Against Waste Incineration in Cement Kilns, celebrated in Montcada I Reixach (Catalonia) and co-organised with the local organisation Montcada Aire Net.