UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


New waste GHG tool to assist scope 3 estimation by local authorities launched with UCL expertise

18 January 2023

UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources researcher Isabela Butnar has co-developed a tool to help local authorities quantify emissions from their waste management.

Image of a rubbish dump next to a door

Waste management is an ever-increasing problem for local authorities, cities and the world. In partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council, Institute for Sustainable Resources researcher Isabella Butnar has co-developed a GHG tool to assist the local councils and their waste service suppliers estimate and report GHG emissions from local waste management. The project was funded by the Local Government Authority (LGA) through the Net Zero Innovation Programme https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/climate-change-hub/net-zero-innovation-programme run by LGA and UCL. A first version of the calculator was developed in 2021, specific to Cambridgeshire County Council waste operations. In 2022 Isabela road-tested the tool with six other local authorities and expanded the tool to include energy-from-waste with help from Worcestershire County Council and their waste suppliers. The calculator is to be hosted on the Local Partnerships webpage https://localpartnerships.org.uk/our-expertise/climate-response/, made available to all the English and Welsh local authorities. Isabella noted:

There is a genuine interest at local authorithy level to understand and reduce their scope 3 emissions. The tool we have co-developed with Cambridgeshire County Council helps improved accounting and reporting of emissions from local waste management. It also offers a harmonised understanding of sources of emissions, fostering constructive discussions within the council and between the council and their waste suppliers towards reducing supply chain emissions.

The Net Zero Innovation Programme served as a critical catalyst of this work. Special thanks to Lucy Hubble-Rose and Kris De Meyer who assisted us through the project and helped planning the road-testing of the tool.


  • To see the waste emission calculator, go here.
  • To learn about Isabella's work, go here.

Photo credit: Leonid Danilov / pexels.com