What is the carbon metric?

Scotland is measuring the carbon impact of its waste in order to support and record work to reduce waste and its damage to the environment.

We are the first country to measure the impact of its waste in this way. The reports and tools published here, which measure the carbon impact of Scottish Waste are known as the Carbon Metric.

The carbon metric considers the environmental impact of materials and waste rather than focusing on the weight only.

The environmental impact of a material, such as plastics, is not reflected when measuring weight. 

The carbon metric includes an assessment of the emissions generated by producing and recycling materials as well as the emissions from the disposal process itself. This type of carbon accounting gives a more complete picture of the impacts of waste, allowing decision makers to prioritise their efforts more effectively.

The Scottish Government Public Sector Sustainability Reporting document includes a simplified version of the Carbon Metric which can be applied to get a rough estimate of the carbon impacts of waste for the public sector.

SEPA publish the waste data which is used to calculate the national carbon impacts of waste. Here you can find more information on the waste tonnages used in the Carbon Metric and how they were calculated.

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