Hout Bay Recycling Company

Report prepared May 24 2012


Carbon Calculated would like to thank the following individuals at Hout Bay Recycling Company for their assistance in collating the required information for this report and in fielding all questions:

Iming Lin

Nokwanda Sontyantya

Jemimah Birch

Anton Cartwright (Credible Carbon)

Nic Wiid (Trashback)

Overview of HBRCavoided carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions

Reporting period: January 2008 – March 2012

Carbon footprint calculation conducted on: Waste collection and recycling operations of Hout Bay Recycling Co-op

Methodology: Greenhouse Gas Protocol – Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard

Waste typeGreenhouse Gases Avoided



IT waste-0,81






Oily plastics/foam-2,49

Mixed waste-1 333,01

TOTAL GHG AVOIDED (Metric tonnes CO2e) - 1897,94

Abbreviations and glossary of terms

CO2 / Carbon dioxide.
CO2e / Carbon dioxide equivalent – standardisation of all greenhouse gases to reflect the global warming potential relative to carbon dioxide.
Defra / United Kingdom Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
GHG / Greenhouse gases
GHG Protocol / Greenhouse Gas Protocol – uniform methodology used to calculate the carbon footprint of an organisation.
IPCC / International Panel on Climate Change
WBCSD / World Business Council for Sustainable Development
WRI / World Resources Institute

Table of Content


Overview of HBRC avoided carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions......

Abbreviations and glossary of terms......

Table of Content......

Section A: Introduction......

Section B: Background information......

1.Project description......

2.Verification objectives......

3.Approach to verification......

4.Limitations and assumptions......

Section C: Findings......

5.Audit of records......

6.Greenhouse Gas Calculations......

7.Verification of additional questions......

8.Contact person/s......


Appendix A: About Carbon Calculated......

Section A: Introduction

Carbon Calculated has been asked to quantify the tonnage of greenhouse gas emissions avoided due to the waste collection and recycling activities of the Hout Bay Recycling Co-op (HBRC) between 2008 and March 2012. These are emissions that would have taken place if:

  1. the waste had been sent to landfill and been amalgamated into general landfill waste greenhouse gas emissions
  2. new virgin material was required (extracted or manufactured) in the development of products into which the waste was recycled, e.g. virgin plastic being displaced by the recycled plastic in the manufacture of new plastic goods.

These avoided emissions have been calculated using the greenhouse gas conversion factors provided by the United Kingdom’s national Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), August 2011 for different streams of waste disposal. The Defra factors have been used in lieu of any South African-specific waste disposal factors being available. It is important to note that, as such, these figures of avoided emissions are indicative and would be more accurate if South African factors were available.

In order to verify the authenticity of the claims of HBRC, records of waste collection over the entire period have been audited. This required a random spot check of a minimum of 10 per cent of records in which recorded waste was verified against collection receipts. HBRC has, in addition, contacted the waste collection service providers to ascertain whether the collected waste is used in closed loop recycling (same kinds of goods) or open loop (used in the manufacture of other types of goods). Where service providers could not be contacted, it was assumed the waste was used in open loop recycling.

The results of the audit proved that all records of collection claimed by HBRC can be reasonably verified with appropriate and accurate collection receipts.

Finally, in line with the request from the Credible Carbon Project Summary note, and the Credible Carbon Registry requirements, Carbon Calculated has also been asked to verify whether:

  1. the project is real
  2. the described technology, of HBRC, is in place and functioning in accordance with its design specification
  3. there is discernible impact on poverty.

Section B: Background information

  1. Project description

The HBRC is a community-driven waste collection and recycling initiative in Cape Town’s Hout Bay area. It relies on the collection and delivery of waste to its depot outside the settlement of Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay. HBRC physically separates the waste and prepares it for collection by a variety of different service suppliers who either reuse or recycle the waste for different purposes. Income is generated through the sale of the waste to the service suppliers, and additional benefits are described as:

  1. reducing the total quantity of waste to landfill
  2. increasing recycling
  3. increasing the re-use of materials
  4. immediate income and job creation through the on-sale of waste recycling
  5. additional job creation through waste and recycling management companies
  6. a reduction in greenhouse gases
  7. setting of a replicable precedent for community-driven waste recycling solutions.
  1. Verification objectives

The objectives of this verification exercise can be described as follows:

  1. Quantify the greenhouse gas savings as a result of the project’s activities
  2. Audit the waste collection receipts to verify the quantity of waste material that was sent for recycling and, to the best ability, confirm that the waste was recycled
  3. Verify that the project is real
  4. Verify that the project’s described technology is in place and functioning according to its design specifications
  5. Comment in whether the project has a discernible impact on poverty.
  1. Approach to verification
  2. Approach to calculation

Carbon Calculated utilised the carbon conversion factors as supplied by Defra, August 2011 (Annex 9), to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions avoided through HBRC’s recycling activities.

Defra provide conversion factors for different waste streams according to emissions by waste not going to landfill and emissions avoided through the displacement of virgin material for goods that incorporate recycled components.

Carbon Calculated totaled the sum of the different waste types and apportioned the most applicable conversion factor to the specific waste (see Section 6.2.)

“The waste emission (conversion) factors are based on a life cycle assessment and include not only the carbon costs of treating and transporting waste, but also the potential benefits where primary resource extraction or electricity generation are offset with energy recovery. The impact of waste prevention is calculated on the embodied energy in primary material and therefore inherently assumes the offsetting of virgin material.”

Defra, Guidelines to Defra/DECC’s GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting, August 2011

It is important to highlight that much of HBRC’s activities required waste separation on site and that the separated waste was collected accordingly. However, there were large volumes of waste that were not separated on site and was collected as mixed waste for recycling. In these instances, Carbon Calculated has applied a mixed waste municipal waste recycling conversion factor as it is not possible to determine the waste profile of such volumes of mixed waste over such a lengthy period of time.

3.2.Emissions of each GHG

All emissions are calculated as carbon dioxide equivalent gases (CO2e), as required by the GHG Protocol.

Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)

Due to the varying ability of greenhouse gases to trap heat in the atmosphere, some are more harmful to the climate than others. Each greenhouse gas has a “global warming potential” (GWP), which refers to its heat trapping potential relative to that of CO2. Therefore, to provide a comparable final figure, all emissions are reported as a relative figure to CO2, i.e. as CO2e values.

The six main greenhouse gases covered by the GHG Protocol and reported as CO2e are:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous oxide (N20)
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • Perflourocarbons (PFCs)
  • Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)


The GHG Protocol

The GHG Protocol is a multiple-stakeholder partnership of business, NGOs and governments led by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). It is the best source of information about corporate GHG accounting and reporting, and draws on the expertise and contributions of individuals and organisations from around the world.

The GHG Protocol is the most widely used standard for mandatory and voluntary GHG Programmes and is compatible with other international GHG standards such as ISO14064. It is also analogous to the generally accepted financial accounting standards for companies’ consistent accounting reporting purposes.

3.3.Approach to audit

HBRC has maintained impeccable records of all collections made over the reporting period. These are stored in order of waste collection service provider, type of waste collected, weight of waste collected and date of collection.

This information was used to populate a spreadsheet in which HBRC recorded total mass of waste collected for recycling.

Carbon Calculated has undertaken a random spot audit (10%) verifying the total wastes reported against actual waste collection receipts. The spot checks did not contain any bias towards type of waste collected or date of collection.

Year of record / No. of collection entries / No. of entries verified
2008 / 168 / 17
2009 / 210 / 17
2010 / 205 / 20
2011 / 197 / 23
2012 / 21 / 2
TOTAL / 801 / 79
  1. Limitations and assumptions
  2. General

It has to be acknowledged that the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions from waste disposal is an imperfect science that is constantly being improved as life-cycle assessments of materials is better understood. These conversion factors can, in fact, significantly change year on year.

It is also a general limitation that there are no South African-specific waste disposal conversion factors that take into account South African environmental conditions. Hence, Defra is used as the most reliable source for applicable conversion factors.


4.2.1.– On-site weighting

It is assumed that the weighing apparatus at HBRC reflects the accurate mass of the waste collected. In many instances, the collection service provider indicates their own weight of the waste collected.

4.2.2.– Delivery to recycling plant

It is assumed that the waste, after collection, is actually delivered to places of waste recycling. In many instances, the point of delivery provides proof of acceptance of waste (such as Kraaifontein waste depot).

4.2.3.– Waste is recycled

It is assumed that on acceptance, the waste-recycling depot actually recycles the waste into their final product. HBRC has gone to all lengths to contact the recycling service providers to attain assurance of such activity.

4.2.4.– Mixed waste

Significant amounts of “mixed” waste was collected for recycling by service providers such as Wasteplan and Waste Control. It is impossible to determine the exact make-up of such waste but, due to the fact that the HBRC is collecting from a predominately residential area, it is assumed that the “mixed” waste is mixed municipal waste, as described by Defra.

Section C: Findings

  1. Audit of records

Of the 801 recorded entries of waste collection from HBRC, 79 were randomly checked against collection receipts. In all instances, except one, relevant and bona fide receipts, indicating mass of waste being collected were found. In many instances, receipts of payment (based on weight of waste collected) from the recycling service providers were also viewed, indicating a double assurance that the weight claimed to be collected was indeed correct. This provides reasonable assurance that the total claimed mass and type of waste sent for recycling by HBRC is an accurate and true reflection.

  1. Greenhouse Gas Calculations

The following avoided greenhouse gas emissions have been calculated as avoided due to the waste recycling activities of HBRC.

Waste type / Closest Defra definition / Open/ close loop[1] / 2008 waste (tonne) / 2009 waste
(tonne) / 2010 waste
(tonne) / 2011 waste
(tonne) / 2012 waste
(tonne) / Total waste
(tonne) / Conversion factor (kg CO2e/tonne) / GHG avoided
Cans / Metal: mixed cans / Close / 3,33 / 1,39 / 0,00 / 0,00 / 0,00 / 4,71 / -3 911 / -18,43
Glass / Glass / Close / 113,30 / 57,02 / 2,08 / 3,60 / 0,00 / 176,00 / -392 / -68,99
IT / Waste Electrical & electronic / Close / 0.59 / 0,00 / 0,00 / 0,00 / 0,00 / 0,59 / -1 374 / -0,81
Metal / Scrap metal / Close / 25,04 / 39,55 / 25,57 / 28,17 / 0,00 / 118,34 / -2 261 / -267,59
Paper / Paper & board: paper / Close / 86,35 / 25,94 / 0,00 / 0,00 / 0,00 / 112,30 / -736 / -82,66
Cardboard / Paper & board: Board / Close / 0,00 / 11,68 / 61,34 / 59,56 / 0,00 / 132,58 / -820 / -108,68
Plastic / Ave. plastics / Close / 1,20 / 0,02 / 0,00 / 0,00 / 0,00 / 1,22 / -1 205 / -1,47
Ave. plastics / Open / 10,36 / 3,31 / 2,77 / 6,52 / 0,00 / 22,95 / -316 / -7,25
Styrofoam / Plastics PS / Close / 1,37 / 1,54 / 1,17 / 1,22 / 0,00 / 5,30 / -1 240 / -6,56
Oily plastic / foam / Mixed commercial & industrial waste / Close / 0,00 / 1,15 / 0,33 / 0,03 / 0,43 / 1,95 / -1 281 / -2,49
Mix / Mixed municipal waste / Close / 0,00 / 240,40 / 243,66 / 140,94 / 52,00 / 677,00 / -1 969 / -1 333,01
Totals / 241,53 / 383,19 / 337,93 / 240,04 / 52,434 / 1 252,92 / -1 897,94
  1. Verification of additional questions
  2. Is the project real?

Carbon Calculated visited HBRC in Imizamo Yehtu on March 30 2012 and can verify that the project is in existence.

7.2.Is the described technology in place?

The site visit confirmed that waste separation activities are in existence and that weighing of the waste through the means of basic scales is in operation. Recycling service providers visit the site and collect the waste from HBRC for recycling purposes.

7.3.Are the greenhouse gas reductions reasonable in terms of accepted international standards and unbiased towards buyer or seller?

The calculated greenhouse gas reductions are calculated in accordance with Defra’s GHG conversion factors for company reporting which, in turn, are developed in accordance with the GHG Protocol.

The emission reductions are unbiased towards buyer or seller.

7.4.Is there a discernible impact on poverty?

The project beneficiaries are poor by South African standards and the project makes some contribution to the alleviation of their poverty or livelihood risk.

  1. Contact person/s

Alex Hetherington, Carbon Calculated, Founding Member

Telephone: 021 789 2858

Cell: 082 411 3191

Nici Alexander, Carbon Calculated, Founding Member

Telephone: 021 789 2858

Cell: 082 549 7930

Anton Cartwright, Credible Carbon

Telephone: 021 791 2293

Cell: 084 780 3450


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 1996, The Science of Climate Change, Contribution of Working Group 1 to the Second Assessment Report 1995, (Eds. JT Houghton et al), Cambridge University Press

UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), August 2011. Guidelines to Defra/DECC’s GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting, London, D (Accessed May 2012)

Appendix A: About Carbon Calculated

Carbon Calculated is a specialist carbon analysis and advisory company founded in 2008 by Alex Hetherington and Nici Palmer. Clients include: Sanlam, Santam, Investec, Standard Bank, Foschini, Hollard Insurance, Deloitte South Africa, BidVest, Mediclinic, Remgro, Rainbow and Nampak.

Carbon Calculated sets aside ten per cent of all turnover to support social and environmental development projects in South Africa. For more information, please visit


[1] Open loop recycling takes place when goods are recycled back into the same type of good, e.g. glass bottles. Open recycling takes place when the recycled material could materially differ from the original waste type.