Tool for Calculating Greenhouse Gases (GHG) in Solid Waste Management (SWM)

The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report puts the contribution of the solid waste and wastewater management sector to global greenhouse gas emissions at 2.7 %, which might at first sight appear to be comparatively low. According to the IPCC accounting rules this figure does not take into account the impacts of reducing, re-using or recycling of waste as well as waste-to-energy strategies on climate protection. These effects are either attributed to other GHG source categories in order to avoid double counting or they are not accounted for at all. The contribution of these elements of solid waste management to GHG reduction can only be calculated indirectly. SWM experts estimate that globally GHG emissions could be reduced by up to 10% at comparably low costs if sustainable waste management systems where put in place in particular in developing and emerging countries. Additionally, they would significantly contribute to improve public health conditions and environmental protection in their countries.

The objective of the "Tool for Calculating GHG Emissions in Solid Waste Management" (SWM-GHG Calculator), developed by ifeu, and sponsored by KfW Development Bank in cooperation with GTZ and financed by funds of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is to aid in understanding the effects of proper waste management on GHG emissions. The SWM-GHG Calculator allows quantification and comparison of GHG emissions for different waste management strategies at an early stage in the decision making process. Default values allow approximations to be made even if basic data are not (yet) available. Additionally, the SWM-GHG Calculator provides guidance information on the costs associated with different waste management strategies.

The SWM-GHG Calculator, an example version and a corresponding manual including additional basic data can be downloaded.

The climate calculator has been updated, you can find the new version of 2023 here.


August 2008 – January 2010


KfW Entwicklungsbank in co-operation with GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit) GmbH


The SWM - GHG Calculator was realized without partners.