Waste Prevention Monitoring

Access the Pre-waste webtool

An important final goal of the Pre-waste project is to help public authorities with the monitoring of their waste prevention actions, in particular by setting up a shared web tool to assess their waste prevention policies thanks to a set of indicators. Indicators can be used for several purposes, for instance:

-    Assessing the relevancy of a waste prevention action, by assessing potential results and bringing evidence of actual results;
-    Monitoring the evolution of the action and comparing it to quantitative targets;
-    Helping to compare resources and results and therefore facilitating the assessment of waste prevention actions’ efficiency.

Within the Pre-waste project, a working group coordinated by the ORDIF aims at:

  • defining a general framework for waste prevention indicators, that can be applied to as many different actions as possible

Indicators are often a compromise between different factors. For instance, an easily readable and understandable indicator might be too simple to give a complete understanding of what it is monitoring. On the other hand, a very precise indicator (i.e. taking precisely into account the local specificities of a given situation) might eventually turn out to be difficult to calculate and to implement. Waste prevention indicators have been organized in 3 groups:
1.    Resources indicators: financial resources, staff, communication tools, equipment;
2.    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.);
3.    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.).

  • defining different calculation and assessment methods for these indicators;

Previous studies tend to show that there is no universal method to assess the efficiency of waste prevention. Several methods exist and have their advantages and limits.
-    Resource indicators can be simple to monitor (for instance by keeping track of the time allocated to the project, the number of communication materials and tools distributed to participants, etc.), though difficulties might come from external partners.
-    Regarding results indicators, participation can be difficult to assess when participants are scattered or for non-participative actions (such as awareness raising campaigns) and the main method will therefore by the use of a behaviour survey. Three main methods can help evaluate avoided quantities, though it is with various effectiveness: direct measurement, composition analysis and assessment on the basis of participation ([number of participants] x [average avoided quantities per participant]).
-    Calculation methods for impact indicators will mainly focus on avoided impacts for both financial and environmental impacts. According to the Pre-waste findings, avoided GHG emissions thanks to the prevention actions = (GHG emissions linked to collection) + (GHG emissions linked to treatment) – (GHG emissions avoided thanks to energy/material recovery). Regarding avoided emissions linked to behaviour changes, the main idea is to consider the life cycle of the concerned products and to determine what stages of the life cycle were avoided thanks to the change of behaviours.

  • identifying specific indicators for several specific categories of actions if possible;

50 factsheets on waste prevention practices identified by Pre-waste partners were analyzed, mainly focusing on the availability of indicators for the different actions as well as the degree of precision and the main methods used. This analysis showed a general lack of information, especially for impacts and for awareness raising activities.
ORDIF also presented an example of a set of indicators for home composting, including an initial assessment of the situation, and providing a range of indicators, like, among others, the number of composting units distributed or sold and the number of trainings held (resource indicators), the evolution of the number of households equipped with composting bins and the assessment of avoided quantities (results indicators).

  • proposing a webtool that will ease the use of these indicators.

The main goal of the webtool is to help public authorities and any other waste prevention actor with the prior assessment of the potential and monitoring of the implementation of waste prevention actions. The tool will be composed of two main applications:
-    A diagnosis tool: this part will allow the user to determine the potential of one action before starting it. It will do so by providing benchmarking elements regarding avoided quantities, and gives direction to set targets along with a list of indicators to monitor the action;
-    A monitoring tool: this part will provide the user with a list of indicators and a method to calculate them.

Access the Pre-waste webtool

The results of CP4 work are described in the general framework report from ORDIF.

Login to post comments