Municipal solid waste (MSW) generation and management can have environmental impacts and generate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). A sustainable approach and the application of integrating strategies to waste management call for a complete system of information management to be used in the decision making process. The environmental indicators are useful tools to assess the sustainability, the target, and objectives achievement and to propose and evaluate mitigation measures in the MSW subject. In this work the MSW generation, the treatment of MSW (recycling, composting, incineration and landfill), the recycling rates of glass, paper and cardboard and packaging wastes (metals, plastics and wood) and the landfill of bio-waste, have been proposed as indicators to track progress over time (2005–2009) of waste production and management in the region of Cantabria, Northern Spain. The carbon footprint indicator (CF) complements individual waste management indicators and would be useful to support decision making and policy analysis assessing waste management technologies and strategies under the global change impacts. The CF indicator has been applied to measure the global impact of collection, transport, processing and treatment of MSW in relation with GHG emissions. Results indicate that a reduction of the MSW generation and landfill of bio-waste are necessary to achieve the targets of the Regional Plans and Programs. The CF decreased from 2005 to 2009 by 35 % with the landfill as main contribution to the GHG emissions.

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