Invited Session: Climate Change
Australian Municipal Waste Scenarios in a Low Carbon Future
Monday, September 25, 2017
16:15 – 16:45
In Australia, municipal solid waste contains approximately 50 percent organic material and, while best practice landfill management ensures methane gas is captured and combusted, legacy emissions from landfills are produced for at least 30 years. While the overall quantity of greenhouse gas emissions from landfill sites is considered relatively small (one percent of total emissions), in a low carbon future the proportion of total emissions contributed by landfills could rise sharply. In 2016, the state government of Victoria adopted a strategic approach to infrastructure planning based on hypothesized scenarios. The climate change scenario discussion assumed that Australia would need to rapidly de-carbonize. Intended to encourage more divergent thinking, the 30-year discussion is a contemporary approach to planning for the future. Assuming a similar climate change scenario and in consideration of this approach, this presentation will explore the hypothesis that to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill sites by 2050, all organics should be diverted from landfill sites from 2020 or sooner. Diversion of organics from landfill sites for composting or bioenergy production ensures that the carbon emitted from the organics is accounted for more quickly and does not become a carbon legacy for the future.
Following the presentation, participants will be able to examine what a de-carbonized economy will mean for landfills and the diversion of organic waste.