Why are emissions from waste included in the carbon pricing mechanism?
The carbon pricing mechanism includes emissions from waste deposited after 1 July 2012 as an incentive to reduce waste sector emissions. This may be through recycling, alternative waste treatment, composting, and capturing methane for destruction or use in electricity generation.
What landfill facilities are liable?
In general, landfill facilities with direct emissions (scope 1) of 25 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) a year or more are liable under the carbon pricing mechanism.
Emissions from waste water treatment are also covered where they occur at facilities with direct emissions (scope 1) of over 25 000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions or more per year.
The threshold for landfill facilities is 25 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). For more information, see what emissions types are in and out?
How are landfill emissions measured?
Under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007, methodologies for measuring greenhouse gas emissions are outlined in the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Determination 2008 (the Measurement Determination).
The Measurement Determination includes three possible methods for estimating emissions of methane released from landfills.
What about legacy emissions attributed to waste deposited before July 2012?
Landfill operators are not liable for emissions attributable to legacy waste (emissions from waste deposited before 1 July 2012).
These legacy emissions are excluded from liability because, in many cases, there is little or no opportunity for landfill operators to recover the cost of meeting a liability for waste that was deposited in the past.
However, legacy emissions do count for the purpose of determining whether a landfill facility exceeds emission thresholds.
Details on developing a legacy emissions profile to allow liable landfill facilities to determine the ongoing annual emissions from legacy waste is included in the measurement determination made under section 10 of the NGER Act.
Exempt landfill emissions
As with legacy emissions, exempt landfill emissions are not 'covered emissions' and therefore do not cause liability. However, exempt landfill emissions are taken into account when determining whether a landfill facility exceeds emissions thresholds.
Details on developing an exempt landfill emissions profile to allow liable landfill facilities to determine the ongoing annual emissions from exempt landfill emissions will be set out in the measurement determination made under section 10 of the NGER Act.
Closed landfill facilities
Landfill facilities which no longer accept waste and closed before 1 July 2012 are excluded from the carbon pricing mechanism.
The operator of a landfill facility that closed on or after 1 July 2012 is a liable entity if the facility meets one of the thresholds. The threshold for covered scope 1 emissions is 25 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). For more information, see what emissions types are in and out?
If there is a change in operational control after the facility is closed, obligations transfer to the new entity that has operational control. In many cases, this will be the land owner. The liable entity is determined by defining who has operational control. For more information see direct emitters.