We only have 12 years left to reduce global warming levels. A zero-waste approach is one of the fastest, cheapest, and most effective solutions to reduce emissions while accelerating the transition to a circular economy.
The IPPC Global Warming Special Report of 2018 emphasizes the urgency of significantly reducing pollutants in the coming years to avoid the 1.5˚ climate overshoot by 2030. In 2014, landfills already accounted for roughly 18.2% of methane emissions globally, and their proliferation in developing economies has surely increased emissions significantly since. The need for better-managed waste disposal and landfill operations is critical to limiting the overshoot.
UBQ’s Advanced Waste Conversion Technology (AWCT) is potentially an important global warming mitigation tool that avoids, other landfill-sourced GHG emissions, in addition to methane. These include the short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) of methane (CH4), tropospheric ozone (O3) and Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as primary by-products of waste decomposition along with the black carbon (BC) produced from landfill incineration.
These pollutants are highly toxic with lifetimes ranging from days for black carbon to weeks for tropospheric ozone and years for methane (in some circumstances over a century). Even with their low presence in the atmosphere compared to CO2, their toxicity levels are highly significant, causing widespread damage to environmental ecosystems, agriculture and public health. And their concentration levels increase along their lifetimes.
The SLCPs’ impact on recent decades’ climate changes is alarming. Black carbon has a warming impact (GWP) on climate that is 460-1,500 times stronger than CO2. It has accelerated the melting rates of the polar ice caps and contributed to the disruption of weather patterns over a very short period of time.