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.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013 14:10

Project focus: Chianti Waste Less

The aim of the project is to contribute to the success of European and National policies on waste prevention and sustainable consumption through the implementation and monitoring of an integrated waste prevention and reduction programme in a significant and internationally known territory of Chianti (Province of Florence). The project will thus provide Member States with a relevant case study for the establishment of their waste prevention programmes by December 2013 (as prescribed by the Waste Framework Directive, Art. 29).

The programme implementation is also based on the mobilisation and encouragement of a broad range of local stakeholders and the public to take action and in this wayshow other territories that waste prevention/reduction and sustainable development could be effectively achieved by means of integrated and participated approaches, as well asconcrete commitments, actions and tools.

During the 40 months of its duration (September 2010 – December 2013), the project expects to achieve the following results:

  • To reduce municipal waste sent to landfill or incineration by 15% in 5 years;
  • To reduce municipal waste production by 30 kg per capita in 2 years, by a further 30 kg per capita in 5 years, eventually achieving a reduction of 100 kg/inhabitant by 2020 – or some 15% – compared with 2007 fig¬ures;
  • To lower CO2 emission produced in the Chianti territory.

In order to achieve these ambitious targets, seven partners have teamed up in this LIFE+ co-funded project: Province of Florence (lead), Environment Italy, Safi (waste management company of Chianti), Municipality of Barberino Val d’Elsa, Greve in Chianti, City of San Casciano Val di Pesa, City of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.

Together, the partners set up a project action plan consisting of four components:

1.    Implementation of a waste prevention and reduction programme in the Chianti territory

a.    Waste prevention and reduction shared and concrete actions, by means of effective commitments and cooperation among stakeholders, and by the promotion of citizen lifestyle changes
b.    Management and Incentives tools: revision of collection schemes, accounting systems, collection fees, regulatory frameworks
c.    Promotion of the use and marketing of recycled materials

2.    Evaluation of the effectiveness of the integrated programme through the development of a monitoring tool for the results gained from the application of the different actions;
3.    Establishment and consolidation of a local stakeholders pool with the competence needed to guarantee the application and success of the project actions;
4.    Communication and dissemination of the project results on a local, Italian and European level thanks to the involvement of different strategic partners and international networks of local authorities (such as ICLEI and ACR+)

Read more about the Chianti Waste Less project on the official website

21/02/2013 - In Austria, freeganism – the practice of reclaiming and eating food that has been discarded – has hit mainstream media through a new reality cooking show, “Waste Cooking”.

Show director David Gross, after being shocked by the food waste he encountered when he first did a “dumpster dive” in January 2012, felt that more people need to understand the consequences of Austria throwing away around 105,000 tons of edible food each year. Therefore, he gathered a group of activists and artists, and started the idea of a reality show on dumpster diving.

In the show, a group of “dumpster divers” set out in search of trash cans specifically designed for organic waste (which is separately collected in Austria since 1995). The collected food - a wide variety of pristine fruits, vegetables, cheese and other foods - is then prepared in a kitchen set up on a public pedestrian thoroughfare by a professional cook, Tobias Judmaier. Passers-by are lured to taste the dish and gauged for their reaction.

The legal status of dumpster diving is often unclear. Dumpster diving per se is often legal, unless specifically prohibited by law, but dumpsters are usually located on private premises, so divers may get in trouble for trespassing.

Although there are more elegant and socially-accepted solutions to the worldwide food waste problem, dumpster diving does raise awareness of all the useful food that is currently thrown away. Pre-waste recognises the role of awareness campaigns in preventing (food) waste and has identified several good practices related to this issue.