Waste management policy to enhance climate change mitigation

Project description

Title: Climate-friendly technologies and capacity development in implementing the national policy on solid waste management in Brazil
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: Brazil
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Cities (Ministério das Cidades) and Ministry of the Environment (Ministério do Meio Ambiente)
Overall term: 2017 to 2021

Windrow composting, UFSC method – “Revolução dos Baldinhos” at Florianópolis. Foto: Soninha Vill/ ProteGEEr


In 2010 Brazil adopted a forward-looking waste management policy, which has, however, only been partially implemented. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Brazil continue to rise, even in the waste sector. Specific CO2 reduction targets in the waste sector have yet to be mainstreamed in either the National Plan on Climate Change or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Despite increasing pressure from environmental protection agencies, municipalities are reluctant to implement waste management measures. The reason for this is a lack of project examples as references, as well as insufficient information and implementation experts. Little advantage has been taken of subsidised loans available, for instance, through the state-run bank, CAIXA.

A new version of the national solid waste management plan is likely to be adopted in 2018. This would create opportunities to align it with the National Plan on Climate Change and make use of the waste sector’s potential for climate change mitigation.


The Brazilian waste sector provides a tangible contribution to targets for the reduction of GHG emissions and consequently to climate change mitigation. Brazil’s waste management policy brings together both short-term objectives, such as efficient waste treatment options, and long-term objectives, such as climate change mitigation, and plays a leading role in Latin America.

Final disposal of waste at Brasília´s sanitary landfill. Foto: Soninha Vill/ ProteGEEr


The project advises ministries at national level on integrating climate-related criteria, (emission reduction potential), into rules and regulations for the waste sector. To achieve this, methods of calculating GHG emissions from municipal solid waste are being reviewed and amended to reflect the Brazilian context. Technologies to minimise GHG emissions will be supported and recycling promoted. 

At municipal level, those in local government and private sector employment are trained in planning and implementing effective and climate-friendly waste management. The project promotes the use of new decision-making tools in 10 selected cities and municipalities to train local authorities and businesses in the selection of technologies and methods.

In collaboration with five universities, the project develops curricula for postgraduate studies on sustainable waste management and climate change mitigation. The project also supports research projects and dialogue between German and Brazilian research institutions.