CM: SMMP Credit- Solid Waste Greenhouse Gas and Air Emissions Footprint Reduction Policy 

 

The Big Picture

SMMP Credit: Solid Waste Greenhouse Gas

and Air Emissions Footprint Reduction Policy 

(Local Government: 1-3 points; Industry: 2-5 Points, Non-Reciprocal)

Credit Summary

The Solid Waste Greenhouse Gas and Air Emissions Footprint Reduction Policy intends to reduce greenhouse gas, criteria air pollutants, and hazardous air pollutants (HAP) footprint of the Local Government’s or the Company’s solid waste management program.

 

Impact Summary

Through the prevention of material waste, one can greatly reduce the greenhouse gas and air emission they produce. The EPA cites that municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 15.1 percent of these emissions in 2018. These emissions directly contribute to climate change, detrimentally impacting human health, agriculture, water resources, forests, wildlife, and coastal areas. 

 

Submittal Summary

         

UPLOAD

Local Governments & Industry Leaders
  • SMMP Document showing the adoption of a policy (Local Government) or goal (Company) to measure and reduce the per capita greenhouse gas OR a policy/goal to reduce Criteria Air Pollutants and HAP footprint of the collection, recovery and disposal of waste within the jurisdiction by at least 20 percent (Tier 1, +1 point) or by 25 percent (Tier 2, +2 points) compared to 2015 baseline within 5 years of policy/goal adoption.
  • Policy/Goal needs to require measurement and documentation of GHG and toxic emissions with the best available technology that captures emission/leakages throughout the entire system.   

 

Case Study & Benefits

A wide range of domestic programs in the United States apply technology based performance standards to industrial facilities in the form of quantified emission limit values (ELVs). Common existing laws that guide the implementation of ELVs include Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA)3, (EPA, 1990a) (OECD).

 

Intent and Requirements

Intent

To reduce greenhouse gas, criteria air pollutants, and hazardous air pollutants (HAP) footprint of the Local Government’s or the Company’s solid waste management program.

 

Local Government Requirements

Tier 1: (1 point)

Adopt a policy to measure and reduce the per capita greenhouse gas OR adopt a policy to reduce other  Criteria Air Pollutants and HAP footprint of the collection, recovery and disposal of waste within the jurisdiction by at least 20 percent compared with a 2015 baseline within 5 years of policy adoption. See PCD Credit: Material Disposal Cost for specific landfill gas management requirements.

  • Require measuring and documenting GHG and toxic emissions with the best available technology that captures emissions/leakages throughout the entire system.

 

Tier 2: (+2 points)

Adopt a policy to measure and reduce BOTH the per capita greenhouse gas AND other criteria air emissions footprint of the collection, recovery and disposal of waste within the jurisdiction by at least 25 percent compared with a 2015 baseline within 5 years of policy adoption. See PCD Credit: Material Disposal Cost for specific landfill gas management requirements.

  • Require measuring and documenting GHG and toxic emissions with the best available technology that captures emissions/leakages throughout the entire system.

Industry Requirements

Tier 1: (2 points)

Adopt a company goal to measure and reduce the greenhouse gas footprint OR adopt a company goal to reduce other criteria air pollutants and HAP footprint of the collection, recovery and disposal of waste by the Company by at least 20 percent compared with a 2015 baseline within 5 years of goal adoption. See PCD Credit: Material Disposal Cost for specific landfill gas management requirements.

  • Require measuring and documenting GHG and toxic emissions with the best available technology that captures emissions/leakages throughout the entire system.

Tier 2: (+3 points)

Adopt a company goal to measure and reduce BOTH the per capita greenhouse gas AND other criteria air emissions footprint of the collection, recovery and disposal of waste by the Company by at least 25 percent compared with a 2015 baseline within 5 years of goal adoption. See PCD Credit: Material Disposal Cost for specific landfill gas management requirements.

  • Require measuring and documenting GHG and toxic emissions with the best available technology that captures emissions/leakages throughout the entire system.

Potential Strategies

Use a metric of carbon dioxide equivalents to quantify the carbon impact of waste, assessing the emissions generated by producing and recycling materials as well as the emissions from the disposal and/or conversion processes.

 

Why We Care

As of 2018, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totaled 6,677 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. According to the EPA, municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 15.1 percent of these emissions in 2018. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and certain synthetic chemicals retain heat in Earth’s atmosphere thus altering climate and weather patterns. Major areas of impacts of climate change effects include surface air and ocean temperatures, precipitation, and sea levels. Moreover, human health, agriculture, water resources, forests, wildlife, and coastal areas have been detrimentally impacted by climate change. Evident effects include severe heat waves, floods, and droughts in warmer climates, which reduce crop yields. Sea level rises have eroded coastal ecosystems and eliminated wetlands.

The CDC states that public health can be affected by disruptions of physical, biological, and ecological systems. Health effects of these disruptions include increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events, changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases. State and local governments are recommended to prepare for these detrimental impacts and furthermore implement strategies to reduce solid waste greenhouse gas or air emissions. Companies have corporate social responsibility to adopt programs that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the interest of public health. 

Required Documentation

Submit a copy of a model ordinance to implement a new policy that will measure and reduce the per capita greenhouse gas or reduce other criteria air pollutants and HAP footprint of the collection. 

         

UPLOAD

Local Governments & Industry Leaders
  • SMMP Document showing the adoption of a policy (Local Government) or goal (Company) to measure and reduce the per capita greenhouse gas OR a policy/goal to reduce Criteria Air Pollutants and HAP footprint of the collection, recovery and disposal of waste within the jurisdiction by at least 20 percent (Tier 1, +1 point) or by 25 percent (Tier 2, +2 points) compared to 2015 baseline within 5 years of policy/goal adoption.
  • Policy/Goal needs to require measurement and documentation of GHG and toxic emissions with the best available technology that captures emission/leakages throughout the entire system.   

 

How to Meet the Requirements

Draft an ordinance to highlight intentions and plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To meet the requirements for the first tier, calculate emissions of major activities and forecast calculations to reduce greenhouse gas by 20%. 

To calculate current greenhouse gas emissions and establish a baseline for improvement, gather documentation of major activities including transportation, production operations, and energy usage. Examples of documentation include electricity bills, gas bills, or other utility services that track major activities with greenhouse emissions. Calculate and track future carbon dioxide emissions in the company database to demonstrate initiative and proof of emission awareness.  

Calculate emission of carbon dioxide from major activities using common conversion metrics and calculation techniques provided by the EPA (accessible online). To track energy related emissions, The Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator helps calculate carbon dioxide emission equivalencies for electricity-related emissions. To track transportation related emissions, the EPA and Department of transportation agreed to use a common conversion factor of 8,887 grams of CO2 emissions per gallon of gasoline consumed (Federal Register 2010). To obtain the number of grams of CO2 emitted per gallon of gasoline combusted, the heat content of the fuel per gallon can be multiplied by the kg CO2 per heat content of the fuel.

Common calculations are display in the following table:

Emission Factor Sample Calculation
Electricity Reductions (kilowatt-hours) 1,558.8 lbs CO2/MWh × (4.536 × 10-4 metric tons/lb) × 0.001 MWh/kWh = 7.07 × 10-4 metric tons CO2/kWh The Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator
Gallons of gasoline consumed 8,887 grams of CO2 emissions per gallon of gasoline consumed 8,887 grams of CO2/gallon of gasoline = 8.887 × 10-3 metric tons CO2/gallon of gasoline
Gallons of diesel consumed 10,180 grams of CO2 emissions per gallon of diesel consumed 10,180 grams of CO2/gallon of diesel = 10.180 × 10-3 metric tons CO2/gallon of diesel
Barrels of oil consumed Average heat content of crude oil is 5.80 mmbtu per barrel, average carbon coefficient of crude oil is 20.31 kg carbon per mmbtu 5.80 mmbtu/barrel × 20.31 kg C/mmbtu × 44 kg CO2/12 kg C × 1 metric ton/1,000 kg = 0.43 metric tons CO2/barrel
Passenger vehicles per year 8.89 × 10-3 metric tons carbon dioxide emitted per gallon of motor gasoline burned 8.89 × 10-3 metric tons CO2/gallon gasoline × 11,484 VMT car/truck average × 1/22.3 miles per gallon car/truck average × 1 CO2, CH4, and N2O/0.989 CO2 = 4.63 metric tons CO2E/vehicle /year
Therms and Mcf of natural gas 14.43 kg carbon per mmbtu 0.1 mmbtu/1 therm × 14.43 kg C/mmbtu × 44 kg CO2/12 kg C × 1 metric ton/1,000 kg = 0.0053 metric tons CO2/therm
Pounds of coal burned Average carbon coefficient of coal combusted for electricity generation in 2017 was 26.08 kilograms carbon per mmbtu 20.92 mmbtu/metric ton coal × 26.08 kg C/mmbtu × 44 kg CO2/12 kg C × 1 metric ton coal/2,204.6 pound of coal x 1 metric ton/1,000 kg = 9.08 x 10-4 metric tons CO2/pound of coal

 

Case Studies & In-Depth Information

A wide range of domestic programs in the United States apply technology based performance standards to industrial facilities in the form of quantified emission limit values (ELVs). Common existing laws that guide the implementation of ELVs include Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA)3, (EPA, 1990a) (OECD).

 

Referenced Standards

See PCD Credit 5 for specific landfill gas management requirements. 

 

Definitions

Criteria Air Pollutants (defined in credit)

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality Definition: The criteria pollutants are carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. Criteria pollutants are the only air pollutants with national air quality standards that define allowable concentrations of these substances in ambient air. 

Greenhouse Gas Footprint  

EPA Definition: the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted during the creation of products or services.

Hazardous Air Pollutants 

EPA Definition: hazardous air pollutants, also known as toxic air pollutants or air toxics, are those pollutants that cause or may cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental and ecological effects. EPA is required to control 187 hazardous air pollutants.

Landfill Gas 

EPA Definition: Landfill gas (LFG) is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic material in landfills. LFG is composed of roughly 50 percent methane (the primary component of natural gas), 50 percent carbon dioxide (CO2) and a small amount of non-methane organic compounds. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas 28 to 36 times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 100-year period, per the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report (AR5).

 

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