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Food waste worst for carbon impact

food waste

Food waste contributes more to Scotland’s carbon impacts than any other waste type, Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) has said.

Its release of data from its the 2016 carbon metric – which contains data on household, commercial and industrial waste – showed that food accounted for 16% of household waste in 2017.

In total, households prevented nearly 100,000 tonnes of food waste from going into residual waste bins as more councils provided food waste collections.

Household waste accounted for only 25% of Scotland’s waste by weight, but 55% of total waste carbon impacts.

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

It showed that improved recycling and declining use of landfill continued to reduce the overall carbon impact of waste in Scotland, which has fallen by 26% since 2011, equivalent to 3.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

ZWS chief executive Iain Gulland said: “Our carbon metric, which for the first time now forms part of Scotland’s official reporting on waste, shows the crucial role householders can play in preventing waste and recycling more of their waste, particularly food waste, and how significant an impact that will have on reducing our climate changing emissions.”

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has this week reported that, for the first time, more of Scotland’s waste has been recycled than landfilled.


Readers' comments (1)

  • The carbon from food and other wastes including plastics do not need to go to dumps as all of it can used in a carbon reactor to generate electricity avoiding all GHG emissions. This is a proven technology.

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