On April 12th, 2022, the Steering Committee meeting of IWM NAMA was successfully held in Beijing. The meeting was conducted in a hybrid from online and offline, with a total number of more than 30 participants from the Urban Construction Department of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the EU, Germany, Denmark and UK embassies in China, China Association of Urban Environmental Sanitation and also the five pilot cities (Bengbu, Lanzhou, Suzhou, Tai’an, Xi’an).
During the meeting, representatives had in-depth exchanges on waste management and low-carbon development. The main points are as follows:
Mr. Markus Delfs, Head of Cluster, Cluster Sustainable Transition, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), noted that despite negative impacts of the global pandemic and situation, China has been well placing a high priority on addressing climate change and mitigating carbon emissions in 2021 with the launch of multiple legislations. Within this context, the implementation of the NAMA project has been significant and fruitful: all five pilot cities have made good progress in terms of integrated low carbon management; six new cities have expressed interest in applying the NAMA project’s integrated low carbon solutions; and the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) methodology has gained widespread attention.
Mr. Du Pengfei, Division Director, Environment Sanitation Division, Environment Sanitation Division, Urban Construction Department, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD), appraised the cooperation between CAUES and GIZ under the epidemic, especially the progress in monitoring and evaluating the integrated waste management and the effects of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in pilot cities, as well as several research reports released in 2021. This year, China has issued “Responding to Climate Change: China’s Policies and Actions” and other relevant documents. China has also put forward green production and lifestyle to fulfill the carbon neutrality strategy. In the context of carbon peak and carbon neutrality strategy, green and low-carbon development is a key concern of the environmental sanitation industry.
Ms. Miriam Gutzke, First Secretary of Environment, Climate and Urbanisation Economic Department of German Embassy in Beijing, pointed out the challenges in waste management related to methane. Furthermore, the development of renewable energies is crucial. In Germany, waste treatment and disposal methods have also developed over the past 30 years, with greater emphasis now on the necessity of reducing waste at the source.
Mr. Sébastien Paquot, Counselor Climate and Environment, EU Delegation to China, shared the EU’s experience: firstly, link energy efficiency improvements with circular economy and promote waste reduction and segregation at source. Secondly, the EU target is to achieve waste recycling rate of 55% by 2025. Thirdly, avoid landfill – the landfill should be reduced to maximum 10% in the EU, while the gap beyond landfill and recycling should be covered by incineration. In addition, waste management requires both long-term planning and short-term goals, in which the policy and mechanism design plays an important role. Taking EU as an example, the application of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) principle shifts some costs of waste management to producers, which in turn drives merchants and companies themselves to participate in waste reduction at source and sustainable development.
Ms. Harriet Dalrymple, Joint Head of Climate Change, Energy and Environment, Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, shared the UK’s new policy on waste and resources management, which is guided by two overarching objectives: firstly, to improve resource efficiency and maximize waste reduction (“no waste” principle). To achieve the goal of reducing MSW by 65% and eliminating MSW from landfills by 2035, the UK implemented a specific law for food waste recycling. Second, a plastic packaging tax will be introduced this month to reduce the use of single-use plastic in packaging and increase the recycling of plastic itself, with manufacturers and importers of plastic packaging paying a tax of £200/ton (¥ 2,000/ton) to achieve an annual reduction of 200,000 tons of CO2e. UK also set up its own emissions trading system to reduce the greenhouse gas emission.
Mr. Sune Kåre Sørensen, Climate Change and Energy Attaché, Embassy of the Kingdom of Denmark shared Mr. Sune Kåre Sørensen shared the Danish experience. Firstly, the Polluter Pays Principle is the basis for financially sustainable waste management in Denmark. 30 years ago, Denmark introduced a landfill tax to facilitate the transition from landfill to recycling and incineration. Secondly, on the management level, IWM and energy systems are interlinked, with the waste sector providing more than 25% of district heating and 5% of electricity in Denmark. The public is fully involved in waste segregation at source, and more than half of the residential waste is divided into more than 50 categories of recyclables by efficient means and put into recycling points. In terms of waste generation, the Danish waste generation per inhabitant of about 800 kg/year is amongst the highest in the world, therefore the circular economy and reduction at source must be further promoted. In terms of GHG emissions, the Danish waste sector plans to reduce 80% of plastic waste entering incineration facilities in the next 8 years, and thus expects to achieve carbon neutrality in the waste industry by 2030.
Mr. Liu Jinghao, Deputy President, China Association of Urban Environmental Sanitation (CAUES), briefly summarized the rapid development history of China’s waste management system over the past 30 years . A significant point was in 2019 when the amount of waste incinerated exceeded the amount of waste that landed in landfills. With the promotion of waste segregation strategy, waste management is being further developed. He finally affirmed the progress and highlights achieved in waste management in China within the framework of NAMA project in recent years, and also expressed the hope that the project’s impact could be further expanded by strengthening the dissemination of results during the remaining implementation period.
The representative of Suzhou shared the experience of waste segregation and industrial low-carbon transformation, pointing out that Suzhou’s waste management in 2021 presented the trend of ” increase in recyclables collection, increase of food waste collection and decrease of other waste collection”, and the diversion of municipal waste is realized through digital management. Through the China IWM NAMA project, the low-carbon transformation will occur through advocating waste reduction at source, improving the segregation rates, reducing the plastic content entering the incineration facilities, strengthening the facility operation and maintenance management, and incorporating carbon emission into the evaluation system to promote the industrial low-carbon transformation.
The representative of Tai’an shared the experience of ecological treatment of food waste (kitchen) and other organic waste. Tai’an has now developed various treatment facilities such as centralized anaerobic digestion treatment, worm farming and sunroom composting, and is actively exploring other options for sustainable treatment of food waste in both urban and rural areas.
Dr. Liu Xiao, Executive Director of IWM NAMA Project of GIZ, summarized the project activities carried out in 2021 and the milestones achieved, and put forward the following implementation priorities of the project for 2022:
1. Continue conducting GHG emission monitoring for MSW sector in pilot cities
2. Continue strengthening technical support, especially the participation of international technical expert groups
3. Carry out relevant research work on waste management, including energy efficiency analysis of waste treatment facilities and additionality of emission reduction for resource utilization of construction waste
4. Increase interaction and cooperation with international institutions
5. Improve the sustainable management of waste, by exploring policy approaches, financial instruments and social investments
The participants unanimously agreed that we should further spread the results of IWM NAMA project and effectively promote the low-carbon sustainable transition of the whole waste management sector in China.
Image source: GIZ