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The Carbon Footprint of Scotland’s Household Waste

The Scottish Carbon Metric measures the whole-life carbon impacts of Scotland’s waste, from resource extraction and manufacturing emissions, right through to waste management emissions, regardless of where in the world these impacts occur.

2018 Carbon Metric for Household Waste

This brief report summarises the key findings from the 2018 Carbon Metric for household waste using the latest Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) published waste data.

For more information about the Carbon Metric and its methodology, see the latest Carbon Metric Report.

Key findings

  • In 2018, Scottish households generated 2.41 million tonnes of waste, the lowest amount since Carbon Metric reporting began in 2011;
  • Household waste carbon impacts fell to 5.76 million tonnes CO2 eq., approximately 1.01 Mt of CO2 eq. (15%) below 2011 levels and the lowest recorded since the Carbon Metric began in 2011;
  • Despite a 0.9 percentage point drop in the household recycling rate, household waste carbon impacts achieved a record low due to lower waste volumes, highlighting the greater impact of waste prevention.
  • The top five most carbon intensive materials accounted for 65% of all household waste tonnage in 2018, but 89% of the carbon impacts:
    • Textile waste made up just 6% of waste arisings, but 34% of the carbon impacts;
    • Food waste accounted for 25% of household waste by weight, but 32% of household waste carbon impacts.
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