World's first standard for waste management sets a precedent

The first international standard for waste management has been developed by the Carbon Trust, which aims to set a global benchmark for good practice.

The new waste standard, to be launched later this year, will require organisations to measure, manage and reduce their solid and hazardous waste.

To achieve the standard, businesses and public sector bodies will need to demonstrate that waste streams are being reduced every year, or disposed of more effectively, for example through increased reuse, recycling or energy recovery.

The standard will also include a qualitative assessment to show that waste is being managed responsibly or prevented.

This will include considerations outside of an organisation's direct control, such as having a diligent procurement policy for goods and waste management services, or looking at downstream impacts through products and packaging.

The waste standard can be combined with the Carbon Trust's water and carbon standards for added stringency, according to chief executive Tom Delay.

"For the past five years we've worked with companies across the world to cut carbon emissions and it is now time for us to apply this expertise to the global problem of waste," he said.

Around the world it is estimated that around 11.2 billion tonnes of solid waste is collected each year. In the UK alone the waste sector is responsible for 17 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

Effective waste management can have a huge positive environmental and economic impact, but despite this, Carbon Trust research found that only 21% of senior executives of large companies in the UK, USA, China, South Korea and Brazil have sustainability targets for waste and 49% are not yet confident that there is a business case for investing in managing waste.

Maxine Perella


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