Of interest to policymakers and researchers/consultants faced with the task of developing waste prevention indicators and targets. Here the focus is on textiles, food, building and construction waste and WEEE but the method can be applied to other streams.

Formulation of a wide range of waste prevention targets for each waste stream. Selection of best-available and best-needed indicators that can be applied to monitor these targets.

Implemented in

  • Europe and Central Asia

Sectors of activity
Consumer Goods, Buildings and construction, Food & Beverage, Scientific Research, Development and Innovation, Industrial Sector

Type of initiative
Policy Frameworks & Tools

Type of lead actor
Government / public sector

Start date

End date

Shared by

David Watson

Senior Consultant


Send an email


The objective of this project was to develop first proposals for targets and indicators that could be used in the Nordic countries (and in other countries with reasonable data collection) as part of waste prevention programmes. An important requirement was that the indicators should be designed based on existing datasets (waste statistics, consumer statistics and so on) or on new data that could be collected at reasonable cost.

Developing indicators for waste prevention is a first step in taking steps to prevent waste at national or regional level. When you measure something, you raise awareness on the issue and can see whether it is going in the right or wrong direction. In a next step a government can set targets associated with these indicators and then develop policies that will allow these targets to be met. If the indicators are chosen carefully by measuring not only actual waste levels but also the key drivers of waste generation, this assists in the development of useful responses.

Four waste streams were considered; food waste, construction and demolition waste (C&D waste), waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and textile waste.


As collected through the One Planet Reporting

No activities have yet been reported under this initiative

Impact and Results

We didn't find many indicators in the literature apart from for Food Waste for which we identified 11. Although we also found some targets for waste prevention in the four streams non of these were associated with an indicator. This situation has hopefully improved since the study was carried out.

We proposed 19 targets and associated indicators for waste prevention across the four themes. For each taregt we identified a best available indicator and a best needed indicator (a better indicator that can't yet be built using available data).

The targets for textiles were as follows:
- Reduce consumption of new textiles by x% or x kg/capita per year
- Increase the share of high quality textiles products
- Increase the share of second-hand products in total sales of textiles by x% per year
- Increase the number of eco-labelled products by x% per year

It is not clear what impact the project has had on policymakers as the focus on waste prevention has grown. The site has been visited 18 000 times and the report downloaded over 1000 times and we therefore hope that this has inspired governments in their search for relevant and practicable indicators.

Next steps and how to get involved

If you are faced with developing waste prevention indicators for a country, region or municiplaity then take a look at the report or the Executive Summary. Otherwise you can contact the lead author David Watson dw@planmiljoe.dk