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Carbon Metric Summary Report

This report introduces Scotland’s Carbon Metric and describes key findings from the 2014 and 2015 Carbon Metric update. 

By measuring the lifecycle impacts of waste, the Carbon Metric shows how waste reduction and sustainable waste management can play a critical role in the fight against climate change.

Despite large annual fluctuations in waste generated, improved recycling and declining use of landfill continues to reduce the overall carbon impact of waste in Scotland which have fallen 26% or 3.9MtCO2e (million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) since 2011.

Household waste accounts for less than 25% of all Scottish waste by tonnage, but a growing majority of the carbon impacts.

The five most carbon intensive waste materials make up just 9% of Scotland’s waste by weight, but nearly half of the associated carbon impacts. Food waste is the most carbon intensive waste material, as it accounted for only 5% of waste by weight, but 22% of the waste carbon impacts.

2017 Carbon Metric Household Waste Brief 

Food waste comprised 16% of household waste in 2017. Despite an overall reduction in household food waste, Scots recycled more food waste than ever before, up 7% from just one year earlier. In total, Scottish households prevented nearly 100,000 tonnes of food waste from going in the residual waste bin. The increase in recycling rates is due to more household food waste recycling collections being rolled out by Scotland’s local authorities 

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