Greenhouse gas calculator for waste management

What is the GHG Calculator for Waste Management?

Environment Canada created the GHG Calculator for Waste Management to help municipalities and other users estimate GHG emission reductions from different waste management practices, including recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion (a treatment that digests organic waste in the absence of oxygen), combustion, and landfilling.

How Does it Work?

The calculator helps users construct two distinct scenarios (baseline and alternative) for managing the same quantity and composition of municipal solid waste. The calculator then automatically calculates the GHG emissions and energy savings that will result from implementing the alternative scenario. Other information such as landfill gas recovery practices, and the transportation distance can also be entered into the calculator.

For example, the calculator could be used to assess the GHG emission reductions that will occur when a municipality begins to compost organic waste instead of sending it to landfill, or the benefits of expanding municipal curb-side recycling programs.


The results of calculations from the GHG Calculator for Waste Management are not intended for, and nor should they be used in quantifying emission reductions for Canada's GHG inventory. The results serve only as a common basis for comparison. If you require assistance with quantifying or constructing models for the estimation of emissions for greenhouse gas inventory purposes, please go to Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting on Greenhouse Gases .

Background Information

The life-cycle methodology used in this Calculator is based on the United States Environment Protection Agency's WAste Reduction Model (WARM), which has been available since 1993.

The Canadian GHG Calculator for Waste Management builds and expands on WARM by:

  • using Canadian GHG emission factors for materials commonly occuring in the Canadian waste stream,
  • including anaerobic digestion among the waste management options,
  • including several new material types such as electronics and large appliances, also known as "white goods", and
  • estimating GHG emissions from provincial fuel generation through an analysis of where each step of the manufacturing process happens.

How to Access the Calculator

If you would like to receive a copy of the Excel file containing the GHG Calculator for Waste Management, please send an email to with the subject line "GHG Calculator".

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