The starting point for the estimation of greenhouse gas emissions from solid waste disposal, biological treatment and incineration and open burning of solid waste is the compilation of activity data on waste generation, composition and management. General guidance on the data collection for solid waste disposal, biological treatment and incineration and open burning of waste is given in this chapter in order to ensure consistency across these waste categories. More detailed guidance on the choice of activity data, emission factors and other parameters needed to make the emission estimates is given under Chapter 3, Solid Waste Disposal, Chapter 4, Biological Treatment of Solid Waste, and in Chapter 5, Incineration and Open Burning of Waste.
Solid waste generation is the common basis for activity data to estimate emissions from solid waste disposal, biological treatment, and incineration and open burning of waste. Solid waste generation rates and composition vary from country to country depending on the economic situation, industrial structure, waste management regulations and lifestyle. The availability and quality of data on solid waste generation as well as subsequent treatment also vary significantly from country to country. Very few countries have data on historical waste disposal going back several decades. Solid waste is generated from households, offices, shops, markets, restaurants, public institutions, industrial installations, waterworks and sewage facilities, construction and demolition sites, and agricultural activities (emissions from manure management as well as on-site burning of agricultural residues are treated in the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) Volume).
Solid waste management practices include collection, recycling, solid waste disposal on land, biological and other treatments as well as incineration and open burning of waste. Although recycling (material recovery)1 activities will affect the amounts of waste entering into other management and treatment systems, the impact on emissions due to recycling (e.g., changes in emissions in production processes and transportation) is covered under other sectors and will not be addressed here in more detail.