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The Carbon Footprint of Scotland’s Waste

The carbon impacts of Scotland’s waste have steadily declined since 2011, primarily as a result of increased recycling, and reduced use of landfill.

In 2015, our waste carbon footprint was 10.57 MtCO2eq, 3.6 MtCO2eq (26%) below 2011 levels.  That is equivalent to taking over 1.6 million cars off the road for a year.

Whereas a scale will measure the same weight years apart and come up with the same value, the Carbon Metric will not.  That is because Carbon Metric is a dynamic measurement tool that must be regularly updated to reflect changes in the real world. 

The carbon impacts of plastic produced 10 years ago for example, are not the same as for plastic produced today. New technologies, more efficient processes and the growth of renewable energy are just some of the variables that affect the carbon impacts of a given material.  To account for these changes, Zero Waste Scotland regularly reviews and updates the Carbon Metric on a 2 year basis. 

For further information, you can download the latest Carbon Metric carbon factors.

More information about Scotland’s waste carbon impacts is available in the latest Carbon Metric Summary Report.

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