Frequently Asked Questions

Can we use our local data for waste emissions?

Many councils have access to detailed and local waste data sourced from collections and processing contractors and have supplied this to Snapshot. While it is possible to incorporate localised data sets for waste, the key question again comes down to the completeness of the data, as per the previous question. Is it a complete data set?

If it can be guaranteed as a complete data set then there may be ways to incorporate it, noting analysis needs to be undertaken on waste treatment methods and other processes. However, what commonly occurs is the data is missing segments so it can’t be considered complete – for example, commercial scale waste or portions of industrial waste.

While council data may be more “accurate” or at least granular than state-based data scaled to the municipal level, it’s often not complete. This means we don’t know how much is missing through the missing waste sources – is it an extra 100 tonnes? 10,000? 100,000? It could have a big impact, and this is what needs to be investigated. Note that the GPC protocol, the municipal scale greenhouse emissions accounting rule book, has clear criteria around data as follows: Relevance Completeness Consistency Transparency and Accuracy

These are in order of importance from left to right. Relevance, completeness, consistency and transparency are considered more important that accuracy. So, you if you have a more accurate but incomplete data set then it would be considered non-compliant. The preference is complete data even if it may not be as accurate. The intention is you start with something that is “complete” then improve the accuracy and granularity into the future. Note that accurate but incomplete data sets can still be incredibly valuable. It can be used for measuring impact of actions and prove, for example, an increase in residential recycling rates. It’s just it can’t be incorporated into a city-wide emissions profile because it’s not compliant.

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