Chlorine (Cl) is extensively present in solid wastes, causing significant problems during the thermal conversion of waste to energy or fuels, by combustion, gasification or pyrolysis. This paper introduces the analytical methods for determining the Cl content in solid materials and presents the concentrations of Cl in various types of wastes, as reported in literature. Then, it provides a comprehensive analysis on the Cl emission behavior and Cl species formed during the thermal processing of the inorganic and organic Cl sources. The challenges resulted from the reactions between the formed Cl species and the ferrous metals, the heavy metals and the organic matters are summarized and discussed, e.g., high temperature corrosion, heavy metal evaporation and dioxin formation. The quality degradation of products (oil, char and syngas) by Cl is analyzed. Finally, the available controlling methods of Cl emission, including pre-treatment (water washing, sorting, microwave irradiation and stepwise pyrolysis) and in-furnace (absorbents, co-treatment and catalysts) methods are assessed.