Reducing GHG Emissions Through Sustainable Waste Management: Lessons From The C40 City London

Case Summary: 

In line with the United Kingdom government’s goals
to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 80 % by 2050 compared to 1990,
the Mayor of London signed the C40 Cities Zero Waste Declaration in 2018, an
initiative run by the global C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40). By
doing so he pledges for the British capital to becoming a resource-efficient
city by 2050.

Each year London’s homes, public buildings and
businesses produce around 7 million tonnes of waste, of which only 41 % is
currently recycled and 54 % sent to landfill or incineration (Greater London Authority,
2018a). The London Environmental Strategy, published in 2018, outlines the city’s
policy and implementation actions to take in order to turn London into a zero
waste city. Thereby, London seeks to shift from landfill and incineration to
increasing recycling rates – for example by sending no biodegradable or
recyclable waste to landfill by 2026 and recycling 65 % of London’s municipal
waste by 2030 (Greater London Authority, 2018a). By working closely with
stakeholders – including the government, businesses, NGOs and individuals – to
promoting resource efficiency and a circular economy, the initiative offers
London the opportunity to become a sustainable, zero waste economy and take a
leadership role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The afo-
rementioned measures for the waste sector set out in the London Environmental
Strategy seek to achieve concrete emission performance standards: 101,000
tonnes of CO2 equivalent saved in 2021, 169,000 tonnes in 2025 and 535,000
tonnes in 2031 (based on a 2015/16 baseline) (Greater London Authority, 2018a).

London‘s commitments to reducing waste and
improving waste management can be considered a good practice as a result of
strong political buy-in, the alignment with national frameworks and policies as
well as the innovative approaches used to involving stakeholders. The city´s
efforts furthermore show that a comprehensive waste management strategy should
be seen as instrumental to reduce GHG emissions and to mitigate climate change.

United Kingdom
Europe and Central Asia
Action Area 
Planning and Implementation Activity 
Developing Strategies and Plans, Developing and Implementing Policies and Measures, Low Emission Development Strategies, Long-Term Strategies
Barriers overcome 
Capacity, Socio-cultural
Global Good Practice Analysis (GIZ UNDP)
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