Assessing waste prevention potential and results

Assessing waste prevention potential and results

In order to facilitate the assessment of the success of a waste prevention action, the Pre-waste project developed a framework of indicators and a monitoring webtool. These instruments will provide strong support to decision-makers and technical experts in the assessment of the potential of waste reduction they can reach, and the follow-up of the results they achieved.

Cities and regions need to assess the efficiency of the waste prevention policies they set up. At the same time, they face a number of difficulties, because:

  • waste prevention monitoring is about the assessment of something that cannot be measured (waste that is not generated),
  • monitoring waste prevention is also about monitoring changes of behaviour,
  • waste prevention actions have a wide range of diversity and, therefore, present a huge heterogeneity of data.

At the end of 2011, a framework of waste prevention indicators has been defined, along with guidelines for implementing them, and the webtool content. Waste prevention indicators have been organised in 3 groups:

  • Resources indicators: financial resources, staff, communication tools, equipment;
  • Results indicators: change of behaviour (awareness of people, participation in a waste prevention activity), evolution of waste generation (collected quantities, potential and effective avoided quantities, etc.);
  • Impact indicators: environmental indicators (e.g. material or energy consumption, air pollution, etc., set in greenhouse gas emissions for Pre-waste), financial indicators (e.g. balancing costs, incomes and savings, etc.), social indicators (job opportunities, etc.).

On the basis of the framework of indicators, the webtool has been developed and includes two main modules:

  • a diagnosis module: this part allows the user to determine the potential of one action before starting it by providing benchmarking elements regarding avoided quantities, and giving direction to set targets along with a list of indicators to monitor the action,
  • a monitoring module: this part allows the user to follow and compare the results of their waste prevention actions and provides the user with a list of similar waste prevention good practices, on the basis.

Once registered, the user will have the possibility to include their own data, to change parameters and to compare their results and performances with similar actions. Two approaches are proposed for both diagnosis and monitoring modules:

  • Methods: the user is able to look through general and specific methods, presenting sets of indicators and clear definitions and methods to assess them (data to be collected, calculation methods, etc.); moreover, the webtool proposes quantitative elements facilitating these assessments (if available from previous studies or existing good practices)
  • Calculation: this allows the user to input their own data and to directly calculate indicators based on the local context.

The webtool is accessible for free on the Pre-waste website. The only obligation for the user is to register and agree that the input data will enrich the webtool database and allow for more comparisons.

Access the Pre-waste webtool.