Working Group III: Mitigation

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5.4.7 Waste Management

Waste management represents an important challenge for the reduction of GHG emissions. Waste is also a potential resource, much of which can be recycled and reused (CPCB, 1998). Residential and commercial waste may be differentiated from industrial waste, a component of the latter being toxic and requiring special treatment. In all cases, there are options for bulk reduction at source. Thus, waste management entails the three R’s – Reduction, Recycling and Reclamation – for recovery of usable components either directly (example: chemical recovery in pulp and paper mills) or indirectly through processing of waste (example: CH4 recovery from landfills and from distillery effluents).

Wastes of various kinds including energy, raw materials, effluents, emissions, and solid wastes are omnipresent in different walks of life (ESCAP 1992, Debruyn and Rensbergen, 1994; Doorn and Barlaz, 1995). Non-availability of appropriate technology is often perceived as a major impediment (Nyati, 1994; Narang et al., 1998). However, there are cases to cite that even the proven technologies do not penetrate into society as rapidly as their potential would suggest (Reddy and Shrestha, 1998; Shrestha and Kamacharya, 1998). Barriers to Mitigation

One of the major driving factors in waste management is the economic environment. Market forces favour waste utilization when there is a shortage of raw materials or their prices are high. Waste utilization is directly influenced by the economic incentive for recovery of usable materials (Vogel, 1998). Apart from market forces, the other barriers (Painuly and Reddy, 1996; Parikh et al., 1996; Mohanty, 1997) in waste management relate to the following:

  • Lack of enabling policy initiatives, an institutional mechanism, and information on opportunities for reduction, recycling, and reclamation of waste;
  • Organizational problems in collection and transport of waste from dispersed sources for centralized processing and value addition; and,
  • Lack of co-ordination among different interest groups, although there are several examples of successful initiatives taken through private sector and NGO efforts as well as business-to-business waste minimization and recycling programmes.

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