Climate Change and Recycling

Greenhouse Gas: Meaningful Emission Reduction through Waste Prevention and Recycling

To help prevent the public health and environmental threats posed by Global Warming, California has committed to an aggressive series of green house gas (GHG) emission reduction goals. Every sector of the state will be called upon to reduce their GHG emissions, including the waste management sector.

Garbage is a major contributor to Global Warming. Solid waste landfills are the single largest man-made source of methane gas in the United States. Methane (CH4) is a powerful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than the most prevalent greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2). Every time you "throw away," you are contributing to global warming.

Ton for ton, recycling reduces more pollution, saves more energy and reduces GHG emissions more than any other activity besides source reduction. Californians currently throw away millions of tons of recyclable materials every year. According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, over 60 percent of the "garbage" in California landfills can be composted or recycled. Increasing recycling should be California's priority strategy for reducing global warming effects associated with solid waste management.

Waste and Greenhouse Gas:

Global Warming and You: