Carbon Metric Report on Scotland’s Waste

Zero Waste Scotland have published their most recent carbon metric report on the carbon footprint of Scotland’s waste for the years 2017-2018.

The purpose of the report is to quantify the complete lifecycle carbon impact of Scotland’s waste, from resource extraction and manufacturing emissions to waste management emissions. The Scottish Carbon Metric provides an alternative to weight-based measurement, allowing policy makers to focus on waste materials with the carbon impacts and greatest potential carbon savings.

The report can be read here. Further figures on the Carbon Metric can be found here. Key findings from the report can be found below.

Key findings from the recent Carbon Metric report are:

  • The whole-life carbon impact of Scotland’s waste rose by 8% from 2016 to 2017, and fell by 11% from 2017 to 2018. The spike was largely driven by increased tonnage of carbon intensive waste materials (glass and chemical wastes).
  • Scotland continues to reduce the carbon impact of residual waste. Between 2011 and 2018, landfill waste reduced by 10% and the amount of waste incinerated increased by 108%.
  • 2017 and 2018 were the first years where the tonnage of recycled food waste exceeded food waste sent to landfill.
  • Increased use of separate food waste collections between 2011 and 2018 reduced the carbon footprint of managing food waste by 144,000 tonnes of CO2.
  • Materials production is the highest contributor to overall carbon impacts of Scotland’s waste, accounting for 93% in 2017 and 91% in 2018.
  • The five most carbon intensive materials accounted for 20% of Scotland’s waste by weight in 2018, but 71% of the overall carbon impacts.