Landfills and wastewater systems produce methane through the decomposition of discarded organics. Waste sector methane can be prevented through composting, captured for fuel, or eliminated using low-cost passive systems.


The Waste Methane Framework introduces governments of all levels to techniques for tracking, managing, and reducing methane emissions from solid waste and wastewater systems. The waste sector is the third-largest source of anthropogenic methane, accounting for about 20 percent of the total, thereby presenting a major opportunity to slow the pace of near-term global warming. Waste methane releases result from the decay of organic materials in oxygen-free (anaerobic) conditions, including in landfills, wastewater facilities, septic systems, and latrines. Waste sector methane  techniques can control emissions, and, in some cases, redirect this energy for productive uses, including products and fuel.

About 60 percent of waste methane solutions have negative or no cost. Because landfills and wastewater systems tend to be managed at the subnational level, waste sector methane presents an opportunity for cities, municipalities, states, and provinces to lead. While research in this domain is ongoing, there are many well-established waste methane strategies that can be deployed today with great effect.


Maasakkers et al. (2022): Using satellites to uncover large methane emissions from landfills, Science Advances

This study examines the possibility of using satellites to detect large landfill methane emission hot spots and locate facilities responsible for the emission. The global surveying Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI), on board the 2017-launched Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, was used to detect large landfill methane emitters in Buenos Aires, Delhi, Lahore, and Mumbai.

Riddick et al. (2022): A cautionary report of calculating methane emissions using low-cost fence-line sensors, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene

This study shows positive results in using low-cost fence-line sensors to detect methane leak and conduct community monitoring, though the effectiveness of the method might be constrained when potential emission sources are not determined.

Gålfalk et al. (2021): Sensitive Drone Mapping of Methane Emissions without the Need for Supplementary Ground-Based Measurements, ACS Earth and Space Chemistry

This research demonstrates the viability of using the newly-developed drone-based methane detection system to calculate emissions and locate emission hotspots without the use of ground-based instruments.

Allen et al. (2019): The development and trial of an unmanned aerial system for the measurement of methane flux from landfill and greenhouse gas emission hotspots, Waste Management

This paper presents a case study on measuring instantaneous methane fluxes from the test landfill site in Northern England with UAS-based measurements and a mass balance model tailored for the sampling.

Jeong et al. (2019): Innovation of flux chamber network design for surface methane emission from landfills using spatial interpolation models, Science of the Total Environment

This study improves the design of flux chamber measurement networks by examining several deterministic interpolation models and 22 flux measurement data from 10 municipal solid waste landfills in the Republic of Korea.

Lando et al. (2017): Application of portable gas detector in point and scanning method to estimate spatial distribution of methane emission in landfill, Waste Management

This study discovers the advantages and disadvantages of point and scanning methods in methane emission detection and proposes the application of the portable gas detector (PGD) to estimate the spatial distribution and concentration of methane emission in landfills.

Lavoie et al. (2015): Aircraft-Based Measurements of Point Source Methane Emissions in the Barnett Shale Basin, Environmental Science & Technology

This study discusses the methods and results of the aircraft-based emission measurements conducted over 5 flights on 5 landfills and gas & oil facilities in 2013 in Barnett Shale, Texas, U.S.

Mønster et al. (2015): Quantification of methane emissions from 15 Danish landfills using the mobile tracer dispersion method, Waste Management

This article illustrates a quantitative approach to calculate methane emissions of 15 landfills in Denmark using mobile tracer dispersion method with fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), cavity ring-down spectrometry (CRDS), or by using tracer gas such as nitrous oxide and acetylene.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Landfill Gas Emissions Model (LandGEM)

The U.S. EPA uses landfill gas modeling methods (now widely considered outdated) to estimate gas generation and recovery based on waste disposal history and gas collection efficiency. The LandGEM is a Microsoft Excel-based software application most widely used in the U.S. that uses first-order decay method to calculate estimates of methane and landfill gas generations.

International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): Waste Model (2006)

The IPCC waste model is a Microsoft Excel-based software application that uses the first-order decay method (now widely considered outdated) to calculate methane emissions from solid waste disposal sites.

U.S. Agriculture Research Service (USDA-ARS): California Landfill Methane Inventory Model (CALMIM)

CALMIM is a field-validated 1-dimensional transport and oxidation model that calculates annual site-specific landfill methane emissions based on the amount of organic matter in cover materials, modeled methane transport in cover materials, methane oxidation, and other detailed climate information.

Reinhart et al. (1992): Flux Chamber Design and Operation for the Measurement of Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Gas Emission Rates, Waste Management

The study demonstrates the hybrid Flux Chamber-Soil Gas Probe methodology to detect methane emissions from municipal solid waste.

Publications office of the European Union (2021): Ensuring that polluters pay — Australia

This factsheet explains Australia’s waste disposal tax system which charges a wide range of taxes from landfill to export of waste to discourage polluters from producing waste.

Zero Waste Europe (2020): France’s law for fighting food waste

This factsheet demonstrates main legislations in France to reduce food waste by establishing anti-food waste action hierarchy, enforcing donation obligations, and exerting financial pressure on food waste.

C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Nordic Sustainability (2019): Cities100: New York City’s public food donation portal reduces landfill waste

This article introduces the donateNYC portal designed and run by the city of New York, where organizations with food donation needs are efficiently linked with donor businesses.

Sandson et al. (2019): BANS AND BEYOND: Designing and Implementing Organic Waste Bans and Mandatory Organics Recycling Laws

This toolkit analyzes the structure and implementation of organic waste bans and presents examples from

states and cities in the US with existing or proposed waste bans. It outlines the costs and benefits of bans, barriers and solutions and policy regulations that can be adapted to local context

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (2019): Greening Kerala — The Zero Waste Way

This report studies the waste compost and source separation policy in Thiruvananthapuram, India, and their innovative approach to construct decentralized composting sites, in collaboration with NGO awareness campaigns.

Biocycle (2017): Residential Organics Diversion In Toronto

This article introduces the Green Bin Composting program run by the city of Toronto, Canada, that covers over 90% single family households and 65% multi-family residential buildings to collect 170k tons of organic wastes every year.

Northern Ireland, U.K. (2015): The Food Waste Regulations

The statutory rules of Northern Ireland, U.K., prohibit landfilling of food waste and mandates the separate collection and treatment of food waste from both households and businesses.

U.K. Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (2011): Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan

This action plan designs a holistic policy strategy to transform the economy to “zero waste economy” by facilitating the construction and use of anaerobic digestion, including in processing food waste, farm manures, etc.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2022): Downstream Management Of Organic Waste In The United States: Strategies For Methane Mitigation

This report details organic waste management solutions to reduce landfilling rates. It includes case studies of practices from areas of the US with differing sizes, customers, local market conditions, etc.

Duan et al. (2022): Efficiency of gas collection systems at Danish landfills and implications for regulations

Denmark is a pioneer in biocover systems for landfill. The study found that LFG capture system efficiencies averaged around 50% in Denmark, owing to leakages, low gas production or a lack of gas collection in active waste cells. It concludes that biocovers can be used as a complementary technology to mitigate fugitive emissions.

Scheutz et al. (2022): Revisiting the passive biocover system at Klintholm landfill, six years after construction, Waste Management

This study followed up on the biocover system at Klintholm landfill in Denmark and found that it worked in an acceptable manner after seven years of operation with minimal need for maintenance in the first 6–7 years of a biocover system’s life.

Fuss et al. (2020): Implementing mechanical biological treatment in an emerging waste management system predominated by waste pickers: A Brazilian case study, Resources, Conservation and Recycling

The study concludes that mechanical biological treatment is advantageous in countries where an informal household waste management system is prevalent within a framework that legalizes and secures fair conditions for waste pickers.

Franqueto et al. (2019): Fugitive Methane Emissions From Two Experimental Biocovers Constructed With Tropical Residual Soils: Field Study Using A Large Flux Chamber, Detritus

The study suggests that passive methane oxidation bio-systems composed of enriched substrates have potential to reduce LFG emissions.

Kjeldsen et al. (2016): Establishing bio-mitigation systems at landfills for reducing greenhouse gas emission – State-of-the-art

This study details different types of systems for bio-mitigation of CH4 emissions from landfills, and options for active and passive gas collection systems

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2012): International Best Practices Guide for Landfill Gas Energy Projects

This report describes the steps involved in implementing landfill gas capture projects (LFGE), including identifying project options and different funding mechanisms and Instruments. The appendix includes case studies of successful LFGE projects in Global Methane Initiative partner countries.

Sintana E Vergara and George Tchobanoglous: Municipal Solid Waste and the Environment: A Global Perspective, Annual review of environment and resource

This report details differences in waste composition and quantities for different regions of the world, trends in waste governance, technologies, and policies, in both industrialized and industrializing settings and impacts on climate change.

Pahunang et al. (2021): Advances in technological control of greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater in the context of circular economy, Science of The Total Environment

This study analyzes the methane and carbon dioxide footprint of different wastewater treatment options such as constructed wetlands, microbial electrochemical processes (microbial electrosynthesis, microbial electrolytic carbon capture, microbial carbon capture), and microalgal cultivation.

World Bank (2019): Evaluating the Potential of Container-Based Sanitation

This study concludes that container-based sanitation for poor urban populations for whom alternative on-site or sewer-based sanitation services might not be appropriate and discusses opportunities and challenges for implementation.

United Republic of Tanzania, Ministry of Water (2018): Guidelines for the Application of Small-Scale, Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems: A Code of Practice for Decision Makers

This study reviews the pros and cons of different decentralized wastewater treatment options, including emissions.

World Bank (2016) : Financing Landfill Gas Projects in Developing Countries

This report outlines basic financing options for LFG capture projects in developing countries, with case studies to outline site-specific factors that determine technical and financial viability of LFG capture.

Daelman et al. (2012): Methane emission during municipal wastewater treatment, Water Research

This study analyzes sources of emissions from WWTPs, and finds that 75% of total methane emission originated from the anaerobic digestion of primary and secondary sludge.

Cakir et al. (2005): Greenhouse gas production: A comparison between aerobic and anaerobic wastewater treatment technology, Water Research

This study concludes that aerobic processes in WWTPs emit less net greenhouse gas for very low strength wastewaters. If dissolved methane is recovered, anaerobic treatment is favorable at nearly all influent strengths.

WASTE RESOURCES – Baseline and Monitoring Strategies

WASTE RESOURCES – Downstream solid waste methane reduction strategies

WASTE RESOURCES – Upstream solid waste methane reduction strategies

WASTE RESOURCES – Wastewater methane reduction strategies