Greater London Authority updates greenhouse gas calculator for waste management services

The Greater London Authority (GLA) has released an updated greenhouse gas calculator for local authorities to assess the environmental impacts of their waste management activities against the GLA’s Emissions Performance Standard (EPS).

The EPS was first published in 2011 as part of the Mayor of London’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy, and sets targets for London’s local authorities to reduce the emissions associated with waste management.

London's City Hall

Produced by environmental consultancy Eunomia Research and Consulting, the new online calculator, entitled the ‘EPS Ready Reckoner’, allows local authorities to measure their climate change impacts alongside the EPS targets.

The GLA, which declared a climate emergency in December 2018, has also provided guidance to explain which waste service changes have the most impact on both reducing carbon emissions and making progress towards the EPS targets. Local authorities are encouraged to consider more environmentally-friendly practices, such as introducing collections for segregated food waste, switching to electric vehicles for collecting waste and recovering greater amounts of plastic from residual waste prior to incineration.

Commenting on the calculator, Ann Ballinger, Principal Consultant at Eunomia, said: “London is demonstrating leadership by tackling the climate crisis head-on. Declaring a climate emergency means public authorities, or others managing waste, must make every possible effort to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.

“The implementation of the EPS will set the city on a trajectory towards a net-carbon zero future. The EPS applies to waste that has to be managed: we do also need to reduce the amount of waste we generate in the first place if we are to achieve net zero emissions.

“Alongside the crucial impact this will have on London’s contribution to the climate crisis, the changes to waste management services made as a result of meeting the EPS targets should also see air quality improve across the city.

Doug Simpson, Principal Policy and Programme Officer at the GLA, added: “In adopting a carbon-based approach to waste management, London is heading the way to link actions that deliver the greatest climate change mitigation with improvements in waste reduction, increased recycling and renewable energy generation.

“This approach puts London in a strong position to effectively respond and adapt to a raft of new policies and measures including carbon-based metrics being considered by Government in its Resources and Waste Strategy.”

The GLA has shown strong commitment to improving the environmental credentials of waste management. The Mayor’s London Environment Strategy, published in May 2018, commits to becoming a zero waste city by 2050, to ensure that no biodegradable or recyclable waste is sent to landfill by 2026, and to achieve a municipal recycling rate of 65 per cent by 2030.

The Mayor also signed up to an initiative run by C40, a network of major cities working together to address climate change, in August 2018, committing London to cutting the amount of waste it sends to landfill and incineration by 50 per cent by 2030.

The Ready Reckoner tool and guidance is available on Eunomia’s website.

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