Food waste recycling key to reducing carbon emissions, says ZWS

Scotland has introduced a carbon Metric to factor in the impacts of waste on the environment in relation to carbon emissions, with Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), the Scottish Government-funded circular economy organisation, revealing that food waste has the biggest carbon impact on the environment.

The Carbon Metric is a tool designed by ZWS to measure the ‘whole-life carbon impacts of Scotland’s waste’, meaning the amount of carbon emissions that have been produced from resource extraction, through manufacturing to the waste management stage.

The official household waste and recycling statistics for 2017, published this week by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), reveal that Scotland achieved a household waste recycling rate of 45.6 per cent, an increase of 0.6 per cent on the 2016 figure. The amount of household waste to landfill has dropped by 2.2 per cent and, for the first time, more waste was sent for recycling (1.12 million tonnes) than to landfill (1.11 million tonnes).

Applying the Carbon Metric to these figures shows that 5.86 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – an aggregate statistic incorporating various different types of greenhouse gas emissions, based on how much global warming each gas will cause – were produced from Scotland’s household waste in 2017, or 1.09 tonnes per person.