NWRIC engaged Ricardo Energy Environment and Planning to quantify the current level of direct (scope 1), indirect (scope 2), and avoided GHG emissions associated with the waste and recycling sector in Australia. This work will help establish the current waste sector’s baseline and trajectory to support actions required to meet the Australian Government’s target of net zero GHG emissions by 2050.

This waste emissions assessment is designed to demonstrate how the sector has been contributing to significant GHG emissions reductions for many years and continues to reduce emissions, based on voluntary action and investment growth in recycling capacity and circular economy projects to avoid emissions to meet the national targets.

While all levels of government have economy-wide emissions reduction targets and policy interventions to drive down emissions, efforts have largely been focused on the land and electricity sectors, with limited or no targets for other sectors. The waste and resource recovery sector has relied on voluntary action and high-level emissions inventory data. NWRIC wishes to track the progress of the waste and recycling sector with more up-to-date information, including the assessment of investments into projects that significantly reduce emissions, which is forging their pathway towards a net zero balance or better (net negative).