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Greenhouse Gas Reductions Calculator

Each time you recycle or compost materials instead of discarding them, you help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and protect the climate. Over time these emission reductions add up to significant amounts! In fact, GHG reductions from recycling and composting are often so considerable that they can be compared to avoided tailpipe emissions from vehicles, or cars taken off the road.

Use the Stopwaste Partnership GHG calculator to estimate the impact of your waste reduction practices, expressed in tons of carbon dioxide saved, or cars taken off the road. See below for instructions, or contact us to assist you.

Calculator Instructions:
Note: This calculator works for commonly recycled or composted materials and must be repeated for each material type. To calculate your total GHG reductions, please add up the results for each material calculated.

1. Select your calculation method. Choose Method 1 ("Using Collection Service Level") if you know the number and size of containers used to collect a given material, as well as frequency of pick-up, Choose Method 2 ("Using Monthly Tonnage") if you know how many tons of the chosen material you recycle or compost each month.

2. Under the selected method, choose your material from the yellow highlighted pull down menu. The calculator will automatically fill in material specific conversion factors next to the pull down menu.

3a. Using Method 1: Enter the number and volume of containers used for the chosen material, as well as the number of pick-ups per week into the yellow cells under the applicable bin type(s). The total waste diverted is calculated to the right (blue cells). The corresponding GHG reductions (CO2 saved) per month and equivalent cars taken off the road are shown in the green cells.

3b. Using Method 2: Enter the total tons of the chosen material recycled or composted each month into the yellow cell. The corresponding GHG reductions (CO2 saved) per month and equivalent cars taken off the road are shown in the green cells.

Method 1 - Using Collection Service Level
  lb/cy
  Tons CO2E saved per Ton of Material Recycled/Composted
 
Toters or Rolling Carts
toter x gal x cy x lb x pick up x week x 1 ton = ton/mo
toter
gal
cy
week
month
lbs
Bins or Dumpsters
bins x cy x lb x pick up x week x 1 ton = ton/mo
bin
cy
week
month
lbs
Compactors
compactor x cy x uncomp cy x lb x pick up x week x 1 ton = ton/mo
compactor
1 compacted cy
cy
week
month
lbs
GHGs/month avoided by recycling/composting rather than landfilling
    ton x ton CO2e = Metric tons/month of avoided CO2E emissions              
      mo     tons recycled      
                   
Equivalent number of cars taken off the road: =    
Method 2 - Using Monthly Total Tonnage    
    Tons CO2E saved per Ton of Material Recycled/Composted
 
GHGs/month avoided by recycling/composting rather than landfilling using EPA's WARM model
ton x ton CO2e = Metric tons/month of avoided CO2E emissions      
mo
ton recycled
Equivalent number of cars taken off the road: =
Source data/information:
MTCE per short ton = 3.67 MTCO2E/2000 lbs
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/waste/calculators/Warm_Form.html
1 Carbon Equivalent (CE) = 3.67 CO2E (44/12 atomic mass conversion)
  Greenhouse Gas Emission Factors (MTCE per short ton)  
Warm Model Conversion
  Diversion Category Metric tons CO2E/ton material diverted Source/Notes   Material Source Reduction Recycling Landfilling - National Average Composting Net MTCE from landfill to recycling /compost Net MTCO2E benefit from landfill to recycling /compost
OCC 3.45 WARM model (Corrugated Box)
Aluminum Cans -2.26 N/A
Mixed Paper 3.78 WARM model (Mixed Paper - Office)
Steel Cans -0.87 N/A
Plastic film 1.76 WARM model (LDPE)
Copper Wire -2.02 N/A
Glass (non-beverage) 0.33 WARM model (Glass)
Glass -0.16 N/A
  Mixed Paper/Cardboard 3.61 WARM model (50/50% by weight Corrugated box / Mixed Paper - Office)   HDPE -0.49 N/A
  Beverage Containers 1.76 WARM model (33/33/33% by volume for Aluminum cans, Glass and PET)   LDPE -0.62 N/A
Mixed Rigid Plastic 1.43 WARM model (HDPE)
PET -0.58 N/A
Wood Waste 1.95 WARM model Dimensional lumber
Corrugated Box -1.53 N/A
  Metals 6.79 WARM model (33/33/33% by weight for Aluminum cans, Steel cans, Copper wire)   Magazines -2.36 N/A
Foodscraps/Organics 0.88 WARM model (Foodscraps)
Newspaper -1.33 N/A
  Comingled Recycling 3.45 WARM model (by weight 50% OCC, 20% Office Paper, 10% Glass, 5% PET, 5% Aluminum)   Office Paper -2.18 N/A
Phonebook -1.73 N/A
Textbook -2.5 N/A
Service Level data
Dimensional Lumber -0.55 N/A
  Service Density (lb/cy) GHG Category   Fiberboard -0.61 N/A
Solid Waste - Uncompacted 250  
Food Waste N/A N/A
Foodscraps/Organics 375 Foodscraps/Organics
Yard Waste N/A N/A
Comingled Recycling 70 Comingled Recycling
Grass N/A N/A
Mixed paper   Mixed Paper
Leaves N/A N/A
Mixed paper, loose 360 Mixed Paper
Branches N/A N/A
OCC   OCC
Mixed Paper Board N/A N/A
Cardboard, loose 50 OCC
Mixed Paper - Residential N/A N/A
Cardboard, compacted 400 OCC
Mixed Paper - Office N/A N/A
  Mixed Paper/Cardboard, loose 200 Mixed Paper/Cardboard   Mixed Metals N/A N/A
Plastic Film   Plastic film
Mixed Plastics N/A N/A
Plastic Film, loose 22.5 Plastic film
Mixed Recyclables N/A N/A
  Plastic Film, semi-compacted 75 Plastic film   Mixed Organics N/A N/A
Beverage Containers 200 Beverage Containers
MixedMSW N/A N/A 0.1 N/A
Mixed Rigid Plastic 35 Mixed Rigid Plastic
Carpets -1.1 N/A
Metal Scrap 900 Metals
PCs -15.26 N/A
  Glass (non-beverage), broken 2160 Glass (non-beverage)   ClayBricks -0.08 N/A 0.01 N/A    
Wood Waste 330 Wood Waste
Aggregate N/A N/A
Source: SWP Diversion SOP
FlyAsh N/A N/A
Tires -1.09 N/A
Beverage Containers
  Material % by Volume Density (lb/cy) 1 lbs/cy % by weight   Compost diversion  
Aluminum 33%
Net CO2 production for diversion
Plastics 33%
Glass 33%
  1 www.container-recycling.org/papers/WABottleBillFinalReport.pdf   1 car = 4.63 tons/yr = 0.386 tons/mo of GHG eq.  
Estimate 200 lb/cy
http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/factsheets/1mmtconversion.pdf
 
*Single Stream Components per Rachel 2/3/10:
50% OCC
20% office paper
10% glass
5% PET
5% aluminum
10% garbage/residual (this would not be counted as diversion or GHG reduction)
   
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