Alternative Waste Treatment

Closed 12 Jan 2015

Opened 12 Jan 2015

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View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


The climate change function transferred to our department from the Department of the Environment and Energy on 1 February 2020.

Finalised method determination

Methodology Determination made. The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Methodology (Alternative Waste Treatment) Determination 2015 was made on 12 January 2015

Project applications to implement the Methodology Determination may be made to the Clean Energy Regulator.

About this method

Alternative waste treatment (AWT) describes a range of activities that process mixed solid waste that would have gone to landfill into products such as compost, fuel or biogas, and increase recovery of resources including plastics, glass and metals.

The methodology provides an incentive to develop new AWT facilities or expand existing AWT facilities to increase the capacity of waste that can be processed. It enables existing Carbon Farming Initiative AWT projects to transition to the ERF and continue to generate emissions reductions for processing mixed solid waste that would have gone to landfill. All eligible projects will be able to receive Australian Carbon Credit Units for emission reductions for the processing of eligible waste for a seven-year crediting period.

Who could benefit?

This method could benefit:

  • waste managers or local governments considering introducing AWT activities
  • operators of existing AWT facilities considering an expansion to increase the processing capacity of the facility

Operators of AWT projects already registered as a Carbon Farming Initiative project can apply to the Clean Energy Regulator to transition to this method. After transitioning, these projects can receive credits for further waste diversion activity.

How does it work?

Landfill waste contains biodegradable organic matter. As this organic matter decomposes it releases gases such as methane. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.

This method avoids releasing methane that would occur when waste decomposes in landfill by diverting mixed waste to AWT facilities, where it is sorted and processed.

Three types of waste processing can be used in the method:

  • Composting — where organic matter in waste is broken down by microorganisms to produce a nutrient rich soil product.
  • Anaerobic digestion — where organic matter in waste is broken down by bacteria in the absence of oxygen. This produces biogas which is then combusted and can be used to heat boilers or to generate renewable electricity.
  • Process engineered fuel manufacture — where organic matter in waste is processed to produce a solid fuel substitute that can be used to replace conventional fossil fuels.

There are three main elements in a project using this method:

  • constructing a new AWT facility or expanding an existing facility
  • processing the mixed waste
  • calculating the emissions from the waste treatment process

If the project also involves the generation of electricity, it may also be able to generate renewable energy certificates under the Renewable Energy Target.


The following requirements need to be met to ensure a project is eligible under this method:

  • Projects must be new, not required by regulations and not funded by another government programme identified as providing sufficient support for the project.
  • The AWT project must process eligible waste using eligible treatment technology.
  • Eligible waste is mixed solid waste that would have gone to landfill; eligible and ineligible waste types are described in detail in the method.
  • Eligible treatment technology refers to the three types of waste processing: composting, anaerobic digestion or process engineered fuel manufacture.
  • For a project that expands the amount of waste processed by an existing AWT facility there must be at least two years of evidence detailing past waste processing activity.
  • For a project that transitions from one of the Carbon Farming Initiative AWT methods, the project must have been an eligible offsets project prior to the start of the Emissions Reduction Fund on 13 December 2014.

For more information about transitioning from the Carbon Farming Initiative, see the Clean Energy Regulator's website.

Monitoring, reporting and auditing

The key monitoring requirements are:

  • the amount of waste processed and the amount of products produced from the waste.
  • electricity use, fuel use and the amount of residual waste sent to landfill.
  • the amount of biogas combustion for projects using anaerobic digestion.

In general, monitoring approaches accord with the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Determination 2008.

It is important to keep project records because you will need to submit regular reports on your project and the emissions reductions it has achieved. Record-keeping and reporting requirements are specified both in legislative rules as well as the method. Projects must be audited by a registered greenhouse and energy (NGER) auditor. A list of registered auditors is available on the Clean Energy Regulator website.

Development of this method

Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee (ERAC) advice

The ERAC's advice to the Minister regarding the suitability of the Determination to be made is published here, in accordance with Section 106(11) (C) of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011.

Public consultation

A draft method determination for Alternative Waste Treatment was released for public comment.

Draft determination and explanatory statement

Note: A draft method determination that is open for public comment should not be relied upon for planning an ERF project. Draft method determinations may be modified following public consultation and are not final until made by the Minister for the Environment.


  • Emissions Reduction Fund


  • Climate Change
  • Emissions Reduction Fund