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A large landfill site with steam rising from it and seagulls flying overhead

Sector Snapshot: Landfill

  • BeZero Carbon


Learn about our ratings and research on Landfill projects, and how you can use our platform to dig deeper into the sub-sector.

What are Landfill projects?

  • Landfill projects avoid emissions from decaying landfill waste by either combusting collected methane or converting gas to energy, or even both.

  • Methane accounts for around 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and its global warming impact is up to 28 times higher than that of a tonne of CO₂.

  • Landfill projects issue avoidance credits.

Key Figures

  • Landfill gas projects represent approximately 4.3% of the voluntary carbon market by credits outstanding.

  • There are currently more than 230 landfill gas projects listed on the major registries (VCS, Gold Standard, Climate Action Reserve, American Carbon Registry and CDM).

  • Led by the US (64%), and followed by China (11%) and Turkey (5%), landfill gas projects can be found in 19 countries around the world.

131-157 projects are in USA, 79-105 in China and 1-27 in Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, South Africa, Tanzania and others

The global distribution of Landfill projects within our sector-classified database.

  • 2022 saw a major drop in landfill gas credit issuance compared to 2021 with an overall decrease of 47%. The falling trend has slowed, but continued into the first half of 2023 with issuance across H1 falling by 3% compared to H1 of 2022.

Issuance between 2021 and Q2 of 2023, showing a spike of issuance in Q2 of 2021, with issuance remaining relatively stable between 1,000,000 and 2,000,000

Quarterly issuance of carbon credits for landfill gas projects

How we rate Landfill projects

  • You can find BeZero Carbon ratings for more than 25 Landfill projects across 7 different countries on the BeZero Carbon Markets platform, as of September 2023.

  • We find that most Landfill projects have a moderate or moderately low likelihood of reaching their carbon avoidance promises, with 9 having a BeZero Carbon Rating of BBB, and 9 having a BeZero Carbon Rating of BB.

  • However, carbon quality within the Landfill sub sector varies, with project ratings ranging from A (High likelihood) to B (Low likelihood).

Distribution of BeZero Carbon Ratings for Landfill projects compared to the wider universe of BeZero rated projects, as of September 2023.

  • Additionality and policy are often the most important risk factors driving our Landfill project ratings. This is because activities to capture and destroy methane may be common practice, or even mandated by local regulation depending on the country.

  • We find that landfill projects sometimes depend on inaccurate default values for data on methane oxidation and collection efficiency when it comes to calculating their emission reductions which can lead to an increased risk of over-crediting.

The distribution of landfill gas project data points collected by BeZero (1 = data points for methane oxidation; 2 = data points for collection efficiency; 3 = data points for both methane oxidation and collection efficiency).

  • Our curated database goes beyond the default values used in many baseline calculations and allows us to make a more accurate and independent assessment of over-crediting risk. 

  • Details on our sector-specific approach to rating Landfill projects can be found in our Landfill methodology.

Dig deeper on the BeZero Carbon Markets platform

  • Get an instant snapshot of carbon quality and risk for Landfill projects in any location, any methodology, and for any accreditor.

  • View detailed rating breakdowns for each project, and discover why additionality and policy risk tends to be high in the Landfill sub-sector. 

  • Explore project-specific interactive charts that support our analysis of carbon risk in the Landfill sub-sector.

Data acquired and adapted from peer reviewed literature exhibits the trend of treatment methods of generated waste in the ROK between 1996 and 2010.

Further exclusive insights on Landfill projects, and projects across all major sector groups in the voluntary carbon market, are available for users of the BeZero Carbon Markets platform. If you’d like to learn more, our team will be happy to set up a demo.