The Waste Sector GHG Protocol is intended to provide guidelines for calculating and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with a waste management service, over a specific time period (usually one year) and based on simple operational data.

The Protocol itself has evolved with time, going through 4 version updates. The different versions correspond to evolutions initiated by the original Entreprises pour l’Environnement Working Group (Séché Environnement, Suez Environnement and Veolia Environnement) but also to the suggestions and feedback provided by several waste associations that have reviewed and commented on the Protocol. As a result, several worldwide associations have validated and used the Protocol for their own greenhouse gas inventories.

The version 5 of the Waste Sector GHG Protocol has received the “Built on the GHG Protocol” label. With such label, the Waste Sector Protocol reinforces its desire to be the reference tool for the waste sector by ensuring its users of a total and transparent coherence and conformity with the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard’s requirements. The Protocol is also available on the following webpage: http://www.ghgprotocol.org/Tools-Built-on-GHG-Protocol.

The Waste Sector GHG Protocol aims at :

  • Providing a consistent and transparent approach to quantify, report and verify GHG direct (scope 1), indirect (scope 2) and avoided emissions of waste management actors;
  • Establishing best practice across the waste sector for the implementation of coherent and homogeneous GHG emissions inventories;
  • Explaining waste sector’s particularities in terms of GHG emissions (diffuse emission from landfills, GHG avoided emissions, carbon sequestration);
  • Helping companies to take proper commitments and stakeholders to understand and verify those commitments.

The Protocol consists of a manual (in pdf format) and a calculation tool (in excel format) :

  • The former describes waste management activities and their different emissions source types. It guides the user through the different steps of the establishment a relevant, complete, consistent, transparent and accurate GHG inventory and states some rules to follow.
  • The calculation tool is divided into several sheets:
    – One for the establishment of the source type list i.e. the operational perimeter,
    – One for each waste management activity and its associated emissions source types, where calculation can be performed,
    – Different summary tables,
    – Sheets which give indicative emissions factors which can be used for direct (scope 1), indirect (scope 2) and avoided emissions calculations.

Two additional documents are joined to the Protocol :

  • A “Frequently Asked Questions” document;
  • A “Follow-up of modifications” document.

The quantification of GHG emissions from waste management activities is a complex exercise. This Protocol is a living document which is going to evolve together with the improvement of calculation and measurement techniques.

Attention: This Protocol is a tool for quantifying and reporting a greenhouse gas inventory from waste activities over a given timeframe, typically a year. In this regard, the landfill methane emissions reported are only those estimated to be emitted in the given reporting year. The reported value does not include the future emissions resulting from the degradation of waste landfilled in and prior to the reporting year. Therefore, the reported landfill methane values based on this Protocol should not be used in the context of a comparison of greenhouse gas footprint of various waste technologies.