Carbon calculations

With increasing recognition that recycling is about more than tonnages, Eunomia is focusing on carbon impacts with its second Carbon Index (accompanying this issue of Resource). Life Cycle Assessment Specialist Simon Hann explains 

This article was taken from Issue 77

Now in its second year, Eunomia’s Local Authority Recycling Carbon Index has been developed as an alternative measure of the environmental performance of councils’ waste and recycling services. With this indicator, which focuses on waste disposal authority areas, we aim to show which councils’ recycling services deliver the greatest carbon benefits. Once again, we have used WasteDataFlow as the primary source of recycling tonnages and converted these into carbon dioxide equivalents. The index still focuses on the direct carbon benefit from recycling without taking into account residual treatment. 

We have made a few tweaks to the calculation to improve its accuracy. We’ve also, for the first time, given credit for recycling reported by authorities for the voluntary sector. Much of this relates to textiles, which bring significant carbon benefits, so those authorities most engaged with third-sector groups will see improvement in their performance.