The first global waste reduction standard has been launched.

7 November 2013 — The UK’s Carbon Trust has launched the world’s first international standard for organisational waste reduction.

The Carbon Trust Waste Standard is awarded to organisations able to demonstrate that they are measuring, managing and reducing waste year on year.

The standard comes at a time when 11.2 billion tonnes of solid waste are collected each year, with the decomposition of organic waste responsible for five per cent of the world’s carbon emissions.

Reducing waste to landfill is also a prime financial concern for business. In the UK the landfill tax will rise to £80 a tonne in 2014.

“We are living beyond our means, drawing on natural resources at a rate that cannot continue without leading to an ecological and economic crunch,” said Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay.

“Organisations that fail to bring sustainability inside their operations will face the consequences of increasingly scarce or expensive commodities, water and energy.

“Reducing waste and resource use, along with carbon emissions and water, is a crucial part of the transformation that all businesses will need to make in the next decade.

“By taking early action and opening themselves up to independent certification showing real reductions, the businesses that hold our Standards are showing themselves to be genuine leaders and are putting themselves in a much stronger competitive position.”

Jon Barnes, head of buildings and facilities at PwC, which attained the standard, said: “We firmly believe that setting an example and helping others understand what we’ve learned along the way will help business as a whole make similar reductions and achievements.”

The business has managed to achieve zero waste to landfill and has a target of reducing absolute waste by 50 per cent by 2017 (compared with a 2007 baseline).

Large reductions in paper wastage have been achieved by removing desktop printers and replacing these with secure centralised printing areas. Reductions in waste have also been achieved by removing desk side bins and replacing them with central recycling hubs on each floor to segregate waste at source.

At PwC’s two largest UK buildings in London, a trigeneration system has been implemented to provide zero carbon heating, cooling and power. The generators are powered by recycled used cooking oil. This oil is collected from sources within central London – including PwC’s own restaurants – and is refined locally, further reducing carbon footprint.