Carbon Factors

Waste-disposal figures should be used for Greenhouse Gas Protocol reporting of Scope 3 emissions associated with end-of-life disposal of different materials. With the exception of landfill, these figures only cover emissions from the collection of materials and delivery to the point of treatment or disposal.

They do not cover the environmental impact of different waste management options. They are suitable only for Scope 3 reporting of emissions impacts under the GHG Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard (‘the Scope 3 Standard’).

These factors appear in the “Material use” and “Waste disposal” worksheets, available in both the full and condensed sets of the UK GHG Conversion factors and in the CarbonSAVER Factors Database.

All figures expressed are kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per tonne of material. This includes the Kyoto protocol basket of greenhouse gases. Please note that biogenic CO2 has been excluded from these figures (the CO2 absorbed and released by living organisms during and at the end of their life. By convention, this is assumed to be in balance / neutral in sustainably managed systems).

Whilst the factors are appropriate for accounting, they are therefore not appropriate for informing decision making on alternative waste management options (i.e. they do not show the impact of waste management options).

Users wishing to quantify the impact of different waste management options may wish to use WRAP Carbon Waste and Resources Metric (CarbonWARM). Note that CarbonWARM outputs cannot be used for reporting Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas emissions.

"What gets measured gets managed" - Peter Drucker

Way back in 1954 Drucker expressed his belief that effective management requires a systematic approach to measurement and analysis for better decision-making and improvement - "The Practice of Management" (1954).

This is so true today for Sustainability Professionals.

Source: 2023 Government Greenhouse Gas Conversion Factors for Company Reporting - Methodology Paper for Conversion Factors