Focus: Brussels, a leader for expertise sharing

During the three years of implementation of the Pre-waste project, Brussels Environment was in charge of coordinating the development of the Pre-waste common methodology, research and expertise sharing on waste prevention good practices and feasibility studies on the transfer of some of these good practices on the partners’ territories.

Brussels Environment (IBGE-BIM) is the public service in charge of environment and energy in the Brussels-Capital Region in Belgium. Besides tackling waste prevention, Brussels Environment studies, monitors and manages air, water, soil, noise, as well as green areas and biodiversity within the region. Within the Pre-waste project, Brussels Environment was in charge of component 3, related to good practices and common methodology.

Since 1992, Brussels Environment has launched four multi-annual waste plans, the most recent one placing a particular emphasis on reducing waste generation, with concrete reduction targets by waste flow. As a result, Brussels Environment has extensive experience in waste prevention actions in the Brussels-Capital Region, involving different target groups, waste flows and means.

Besides contributing to the gathering and analysis of waste prevention cases, Brussels Environment coordinated the work of other Pre-waste partners on the waste prevention good practices and methodology. In particular, this work involved gathering all the waste prevention cases identified by Pre-waste partners in a mapping report, impelling the analysis of waste prevention good practices, preparing some templates for good practice factsheets and posters, and working with ACR+ on the common methodology for waste prevention strategies.

For its feasibility study, Brussels Environment chose to focus on the transfer of a good practice related to reusable food and drink containers implemented in Munich, Germany and Vienna, Austria. The objective of this practice is to significantly reduce municipal waste generated by the use of disposable food and drink containers (packaging, cups and tableware), by banning their use at events taking place on city-owned land, facilities and retail spaces, while at the same time offering free coaching services for sustainable events.

Get inspired by the Pre-waste best practices

From among over 100 cases identified throughout Europe, the Pre-waste partners have selected 27 best practices. From food waste prevention to repair and reuse centres, from communication campaigns to economic and legal instruments, local and regional authorities will find plenty of inspiration.

105 cases on waste prevention have been identified in 18 countries and gathered in a mapping report published in April 2011. These cases include legal and organisational measures, economic instruments, education and communication measures, as well as voluntary and participative measures. On the basis of the initial research, 51 good practice factsheets were analysed in detail. About 7-page long, each PDF factsheet presents the local context, how the action was implemented, resources used, results obtained, recommendations to improve the practice and similar actions implemented elsewhere. This second step was challenging for several reasons: first, because there was limited data on past actions if no monitoring had been implemented to follow these actions; secondly, because of the heterogeneity in content and language.

The Pre-waste partners selected 27 best practices on the basis of several criteria:

  • Targeted: the Pre-waste best practices were pre-screened by the mapping report and in the top 51 selection
  • Replicable: these practices were chosen for feasibility studies or have a detailed description allowing other public authorities to transfer them on their territory
  • Effective: the results were demonstrated by indicator data that show a positive impact/costs ratio
  • Innovative: some particularly innovative and original examples were mentioned in the list
  • Representative: the selection team ensured diversity in terms of geographic origin, waste fraction, and type of instrument.

In parallel, the Pre-waste partners have selected at least one practice that they wanted to transfer on their territory. They have, therefore, developed feasibility studies that will assess how it is possible for them to implement this action.

Take a look at Pre-waste good practices. The 27 Pre-waste best practices are listed below:


  • Love Food Hate Waste Campaign in North London, United Kingdom
  • Promotion of decentralised composting in Brussels, Belgium 
  • Halmstad schools competing to reduce food waste in canteens, Sweden 
  • Marche Food Bank ONLUS, Italy
  • Household composting, Bulgaria
  • Menu Dose Certa - Food waste reduction and certification in Portuguese restaurants 
  • EUREST services,Sweden

Packaging waste

  • Self-service Detergents in Large Retail in Piemonte, Italy
  • Ban on disposable food and drink containers at events in Munich, Germany 

Paper waste

  • “No-advertisement” sticker with legal backing in Brussels, Belgium 
  • Dematerialisation in Brussels offices, Belgium 
  • Accompanied paper waste prevention in schools in Brussels, Belgium 
  • Travelling books, France

Bulky waste

  • R.U.S.Z - Repair and Service Center, Austria 
  • Ecomoebel – Redesign of furniture, Germany 
  • Alelyckan Re-use Park in Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Clothes library, Sweden
  • Light Kids, Washable Diapers in the Municipality Crèches and Incentives for Families, Italy

General waste prevention actions

  • Let's do it with Ferda in Estonian schools 
  • Italian Ecolabel Legambiente Tourism in Marche Region, Italy 
  • Waste prevention campaign towards shopkeepers and artisans, France
  • Good waste prevention communication practices in Sofia municipality, Bulgaria
  • Calendar with hints for waste prevention, Finland
  • European Week for Waste Reduction in Europe
  • Environmental Education for the Unemployed & households, Malta
  • Brussels waste management plan with reduction targets, Belgium
  • Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) scheme in Schweinfurt, Germany

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