Marking a first for the waste industry in New Zealand, Waste Management NZ has achieved independent certification for managing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Waste Management managing director, Tom Nickels, said the company has worked over two years to complete CEMARS (Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme) certification, measuring all greenhouse gas emissions and joining 53 companies from other sectors in New Zealand.
Noting the first reading of the Zero Carbon Bill [Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill], which has broad across-Parliament support, Nickels said the move reflected a widely agreed need for all sectors to play their part in achieving climate change goals.
“This certification provides an independent benchmark and is in line with the steps being taken by the government, business and the community in reducing our carbon footprint,” he said.
While the waste industry emits less than other sectors, Nickels said it can make an important contribution given the nation-wide scale of collecting and managing waste.
“For some time there has been a strong commitment across New Zealand Government and business to meet the challenges of reducing emissions and we’re pleased to be part of this change,” he said.
Waste Management has been focused on reducing emissions for many years. Over the last three years Waste Management was the first to introduce electric trucks into its fleet and is now converting its diesel trucks to electric in a purpose-built facility in New Zealand.
In addition, by converting landfill gas to electricity, its Redvale Landfill & Energy Park is Auckland’s largest renewable energy generator.
The majority of Waste Management’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the waste collected from communities as it is disposed at landfills and diesel use.
With its modern landfills already capturing and converting 95 per cent of landfill gas to electricity, plans for further reductions will focus first on reducing diesel emissions.
The CEMARS programme is New Zealand’s leading internationally accredited greenhouse gas certification scheme. It provides tools for organisations, products, services and events to measure and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and optionally offset it.
As an early member of the Climate Leaders Coalition, Waste Management has committed to reducing its GHG emissions in line with the Paris Agreement for a future low carbon economy.
Waste Management currently has nine EV trucks. It is working to have 20 of its national truck fleet converted to electric and around 100 electric vehicles in its light fleet by the end of 2019.
Waste Management’s total gross emissions for 2017 was 183,615.55 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent).
This will provide the reference point for planning for further reductions, Adam Weller, the company’s sustainability manager said.
“Reducing our carbon footprint will not be easy. Across the company it will be affected by any significant growth or changes in demand. But we are committed to the For Future Generations sustainability strategy we launched last year. By establishing this benchmark we are registering our commitment to delivering on it.
“Along with waste reduction, recycling and composting, we are also focusing on specific steps to reduce emissions in our operations and we will be reporting publicly on our progress to achieve this.”
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