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The waste sector is the second largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions in the EU and contributes to around 27 per cent1 of all such emissions. Worldwide, it is the third-highest source of methane.

Methane in the waste sector is produced when biodegradable material found in organic Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) streams (e.g. food waste, garden clippings, wood and paper) breaks down in dumpsites, landfills or sewage treatment environments.

Fortunately, the solutions are readily available. The most important strategies for mitigating solid waste methane emissions—organic waste reduction, source separation and treatment of organic discards—are low-cost, scalable and easy to implement anywhere in the world.

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Other Main Sources of Methane Emission

The agricultural sector is responsible for around 54 per cent of all man-made methane emissions in the EU. There are already a number of cost-effective and immediately implementable solutions to reduce emissions. These include switching to a healthier and more sustainable diet, as well as reduced and improved consumption of meat and dairy products and technical measures in livestock farming.

Around 20 per cent of global methane emissions are produced during the processing of gas, the extraction and processing of crude oil and coal and by fossil gas used in the petrochemical industry for the production of plastics. At EU level, excluding emissions associated with EU imports of oil, gas and coal, the figure is 17 per cent. However, a new analysis by the IEA shows that methane emissions from the energy sector are around 70 per cent higher than previously assumed.