Estimation of Fossil Carbon Fraction in Paper Waste and Carbon Fraction in Plastic Waste Based on a Household Waste Composition Survey

Oyama, S.; Hirai, Y.; Yano, J.; Sakai, S.; Ueda, H.; Kawanishi, S. (2019) Presented at The 5th 3R International Conference on Material Cycles and Waste Management, Bangkok, Thailand, February 27, 2019

CO2 emissions from the incineration of paper and plastic waste are calculated in National Greenhouse Gas Inventory in Japan using the fossil carbon fraction (FCF) in the total carbon in paper waste, and the carbon fraction (CF) in plastic waste. In the IPCC guidelines, the default FCF value in paper waste is based on expert judgements, and the country-specific value for CF in plastic waste in Japan has not been updated since 2008. Therefore, in this study, we aim to accurately estimate FCF in paper waste and CF in plastic waste by analyzing a sample set of household waste.
Paper and plastic waste samples were collected during a household waste composition survey conducted in Kyoto. The FCF in paper waste was estimated by measuring carbon, Ca, and 14C contents in the samples, and by investigating the chemical composition of paper components. The CF in plastic waste was estimated in two different ways: 1) carbon content in the samples was measured, and 2) plastic types were identified, followed by calculating the chemical composition of each plastic type.
As a result, the FCF in paper waste was estimated to be 5.9 to 9.4%, which was much higher than the current default value (1%). The CF in plastic waste was estimated to be 77.0% by carbon content measurement and 77.7% by plastic type identification, both of which were slightly higher than the current value (75.1%).


CO2; fossil carbon; accelerator mass spectrometry; percent modern carbon; household waste composition survey