The Pre-waste methodology: develop strong waste prevention plans and actions

The Pre-waste methodology: develop strong waste prevention plans and actions

The Pre-waste common methodology aims at providing cities and regions with guidelines on how to develop or improve their local or regional waste prevention strategy. The methodology encompasses five complementary steps: assessing the situation; setting priorities and objectives; involving stakeholders; shaping and implementing the plan or action; and finally, monitoring.

1.       Assessing the situation

Before preparing the plan, a waste prevention manager must know what the situation is on their territory so that they can take an informed decision. Even though time-consuming, this is a necessary step that must not be underestimated. The diagnosis should cover several kinds of data and in particular the following:

·         Socio-economic data

·         Waste generation and management

·         Previous prevention actions

·         Legal and policy context

·         Stakeholders

·         Good practices and potential

·         Other specificities and actions

2.       Setting priorities and objectives

The waste prevention manager will have a clear view of what they want to achieve. Priorities will be influenced in particular by political and strategic agendas, major waste issues, legal and financial constraints, as well as by interaction with other policies. On the basis of these priorities, it might be helpful to define a strategic goal, and then to translate this goal into SMART specific objectives, by waste flow and/or by action. Since it might not be possible to cover everything, it is reasonable to consider making certain choices, according to the above mentioned priorities.

3.       Involving stakeholders

The waste prevention manager will create a participative process to ensure the support of relevant stakeholders and benefit from their expertise. These stakeholders can be internal actors (for instance, technical staff in charge of waste and resource issues, decision-makers and elected people, or staff from other related services) or external actors (for instance, national/regional/local public support, business actors like supermarkets or major retailers, NGOs and waste prevention "allies" such as master composters, the media and other relays of information and education like schools and, finally, citizens).

4.       Shaping and implementing the plan or action

The waste prevention manager will feed their plan with relevant and efficient actions, chosen for instance on the basis of a SWOT analysis and organised according to the plan’s priorities. Actions must be precisely detailed (Why? Where? When? How? With whom? How much?), and implemented within a timeframe. Partnerships and communication will be considered in order to ensure the success of these actions. The Pre-waste project has identified and analysed tens of good practices that can serve as inspiration to others. It also includes nine feasibility studies aimed at assessing implementation possibilities of some of the Pre-waste best practices.

5.       Monitoring of the actions and the plan

Indicators will help to check the strategy’s progress and success. It is, therefore, important for the waste prevention manager to choose the right set of indicators from the beginning (for instance, according to the territory diagnosis). Indicators can be quantitative (e.g. quantity of waste avoided) or qualitative (e.g. survey on the perception of the waste issue by the citizens). The Pre-waste project has defined a framework of indicators and developed a webtool to help monitoring waste prevention strategies.

The Pre-waste methodology is aimed both at waste prevention plans and waste prevention actions, since waste prevention actions can be considered “mini plans”, as they have to follow the same kind of approach as full-fledged plans. The methodology aims to make the link between the various results of the Pre-waste project: good practices and feasibility studies, the monitoring tool and indicators. It is a continuous improvement process but not necessary a linear one: some steps are closely related and intertwined.

Take a look at the Pre-waste methodology