Calderdale Council: Reduce waste, reduce CO2 as well

One of the indirect consequences of increased recycling, and reduced amounts of waste going to landfill, is a substantial saving in CO2 emissions.

Our projects

Over the last decade Calderdale Council has achieved a transformation in its recycling performance: from around 10% in the early 2000s to around 60% now, making it one of the best performing local authorities in the region and country. With national targets to achieve, and financial penalties to avoid, the council’s waste strategy chose to remove for sustainable treatment much of the organic material (food waste) that previously ended up in landfill – resulting in the generation of CO2 and methane – which therefore allowed its residual waste collections to be reduced to fortnightly whilst upping recycling collections to weekly. But until recently the indirect benefit of reduced emissions had not been calculated.

Successes and Savings

For the period 2008-13 for which consistent data is available, domestic recycling increased from around 20,000 to around 45,000 tonnes a year; waste to landfill reduced from around 65,000 to around 15,000 tonnes; and – assuming the current positions hold until 2020 – the cumulative CO2 emissions savings would be of the order of 135,000 tonnes. The official DECC formula of 269kgs of CO2 avoided per tonne of landfill has been used in this calculation.


The problem is that, because of the way in which the local authorities emissions are calculated – what’s included, and what’s not – it’s probably the case that this significant reduction in Calderdale’s emissions won’t count against its monitored and declared CO2 emissions!  But of course that’s no reason not to continue the present efforts to minimise waste to landfill.

Contact: Gill Barker, Waste Strategy Officer