Waste and F-gases

Waste emissions account for 4% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs)

Waste emissions fell by 52% over the period 2007-2012, and 67% since 1990, reflecting a reduction in the amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill and investment in methane capture technology at landfill sites.

F-gas emissions account for another 3% of total UK GHGs. F-gases are used as coolants in refrigeration and air conditioning. F-gases rose 11% over the period 2007-2012; although they are much lower than during the 1990s.

Waste management is a devolved issue, with England and each of the devolved administrations developing waste strategies and legislating waste measures. There is further abatement potential by reducing waste throughout the supply chain, preventing biological waste going to landfill, ensuring that this can be diverted to be used in productive ways (e.g. anaerobic digestion units) and increasing methane capture at landfill sites.

The new 2015 EU F-gas regulation aims to cut HFCs by 71% in 2030, ban the use of certain F-gases in specific applications; and strengthen leakage checking.

To realise this potential, the UK Government and devolved administrations should:

  • Find opportunities to exceed regulatory minimums on F-gas abatement: including clearly assessing and addressing barriers where evidence suggests cost-effective abatement above minimum standards.
  • Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland to set out approaches to increase methane capture rates: as a devolved matter, each nation should set out specific actions and clear milestones.
  • Reduce biodegradable waste to landfill: each nation should set out specific actions and clear milestones – including England – to further reduce biodegradable waste to landfill.

Figure 1: Waste emissions outturn and CCC cost-effective abatement indicator range

Source: NAEI GHG inventory; DECC (2013) 2012 Energy and emissions projections; CCC analysis.

Figure 2: F-gas emissions outturn and CCC cost-effective abatement indicator range

Waste 2

Source: NAEI GHG inventory; DECC (2013) 2012 Energy and emissions projections; CCC analysis.

 

 Progress against indicators and milestonesChallenges
Waste 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F-gases

Emissions have fallen by 52% since 2007, driven by historic reductions in the amount of biodegradable waste landfilled and improvements in the proportion of methane captured at landfill sites. As a devolved issue, Defra launched ‘National Waste Prevention Waste Programme for England’, Scotland – ‘Zero Waste Plan’, Wales – ‘Towards Zero Waste’ and Northern Ireland – ‘Waste Management Strategy’. All are a positive step towards a long term and sustainable circular economy, where waste is considered in everyday life, used or minimised. 

 

 

Emissions have risen 11% since 2007, driven by demand for refrigeration and air conditioning. In 2013 this growth stopped, which may be attributed to EU regulations. The new 2015 EU F-gas regulation aims to cut HFCs by 71% in 2030.

Further reductions could be supported through stronger levers targeting biological waste sent to landfill, including increasing provision of separate food waste collection services, which can unlock potential for producing energy through anaerobic digestion.
Landfill bans for specific waste materials should be considered on a case-by-case basis and results from project ACUMEN should demonstrate potential to increase methane capture at closed landfill sites. 

 

 

The new 2015 EU regulation places restrictions on the EU market as a whole, As yet, it is not possible to assess the effect of the new regulation on UK F-gas emissions. The Government should find opportunities to exceed regulatory minimums on F-gas abatement, including clearly assessing and addressing barriers where evidence suggests cost-effective abatement above minimum standards.