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Introduction Important issues Indicators + benchmarks Cross sector links References

Indicators and Benchmarks

Requirements laid out within EU legislation can be used as benchmarks to be achieved by the waste industry. Examples of these follow:

Directive 2000/76/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 December 2000 on the incineration of waste:
• All incineration plants are required to have the incinerator at a temperature of minimum 850°C for at least two seconds. (“If hazardous wastes with a content of more than 1 % of halogenated organic substances, expressed as chlorine, are incinerated, the temperature has to be raised to 1100°C for at least two seconds”.)
• “The quantity and harmfulness of incineration residues must be reduced to a minimum and residues must, as far as possible, be recycled. When dry residues are transported, precautions must be taken to prevent their dispersal in the environment. Tests must be carried out to establish the physical and chemical characteristics, and polluting potential, of residues”.

The directive also states that “The heat generated by the incineration process has to be put to good use as far as possible.”

European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste.
The Directive on packaging and packaging waste accepts that as a first priority, prevention of packaging waste (should occur) and, as additional fundamental principles, reuse of packaging, recycling and other forms of recovering packaging waste and, hence, reduction of the final disposal of such waste. However, this directive deals primarily with the disposal of packaging and packaging waste setting targets for among other issues the recovery and recycling of packaging and packaging waste for all of the EU:
• by 2000 between a minimum of 50% and 65% by weight of packaging waste will be recovered;
• by 2000 between a minimum of 25% and a maximum of 45% weight of the totality of packaging materials contained in packaging waste will be recycled with a minimum of 15 % by weight for each packaging material;
• by 2005 a percentage of packaging waste will be recovered and recycled (the percentage to be decided by the Council).

For more information see waste legislation.

Within the PETUS case studies a range of benchmarks have served as methods of assessing progress within waste projects. In the case study: Assessment of organic waste treatment in Denmark the outcome of the analysis from using the ORWARE tool and Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), indicates a number of quantitative calculations, provided benchmarks for comparing different solutions. In contrast the Waste management concept – Plastics case study used a range of quantitative indicators concerning amounts of waste as benchmarks as well as the requirement that from the 1st of January 2004, 95% of all plastic packaging had to be collected for recycling.

For more information see Waste management concept- Plastic

Indicators reveal progress (or lack thereof) towards targets. Indicators from EEA data provide country specific information which revealed the trends for biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) landfilled. For example, European Environment Agency (EEA) data from 1995 reveals that the EU and Norway produced around 107 million tonnes of which two thirds was landfilled. The United Kingdom, Ireland and Finland all increased the percentage of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill, while the Netherlands, Norway, Italy, and the Flemish region of Belgium all had reduced their proportion of landfilled BMW (European Environment Agency (2005) Waste indicators ).

Within the PETUS case studies a range of indicators have been used. In Waste management concept- Plastic, the Municipality of the City of Graz (Austria) was working towards the benchmark identified above from 1st January 2004, 95% of plastic packaging to be recycled. However indicators revealed that bins used to collect the plastic for recycling contained 25 –30% of incorrect material. Following a pilot project, which used plastic bags to collect the plastic bags rather than bins, indicators showed that incorrect material had been reduced to 10%.

For more information see Waste management concept- Plastic

In Breda, Holland (PETUS case study: Environmental monitoring in Breda) a list of ninety indicators include ten indicators recording the composition of household waste.

In the case study Solid waste in Copenhagen, indicators were used in a pilot project to assess whether engaging local residents actively in waste sorting was more efficient than employing large waste handling companies. Before the pilot projects in Inde Norrebro and Kgs Enghave, only 17% and 15% (respectively) of waste was recycled, however use of indicators reveals that after the pilot project recycling had improved to 35% in Inde Norrebro and 32% in Kgs Enghave.

For more information see Solid waste in Copenhagen.