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Assess status and explore use of tools and methodologies

Framework of advanced tools and methodologies

Modern waste management implies continuous change. Legislation and regulations on national as well as European level, new technologies and constantly growing requirements for resource efficiency, energy recovery and disposal of waste set high standards for the implementation of municipal waste management. With the aim to accelerate and optimise in particular waste reduction and recycling processes in your local government, the appliance of advanced methodologies and specific tools is necessary.



Source: Martin Lapotka

The European Environment Agency’s waste review of the municipal achievements in 32 European countries shows that as far as recycling is concerned there is a substantial variation between different regions, indicating that regional and local policies have a significant influence. Therefore the role that LGs play to achieve the Waste Directive's 50 % municipal waste recycling target in 2020 is fundamental. Simple measures in synergy with comprehensive methodologies and tools are needed to put LGs on track to annual recycling rates’ increase of 2–4% in nine countries and more than 4% in further seven European states towards 2020. 


Integrated waste management strategy

There is a broad range of aspects that can be included when defining municipal solid waste and its influence on the local energy use. In order to ensure transparency as well as consistency of the energy (data) of the waste sector within your SEAP, it is therefore important to define the scope of waste in regards to the municipal waste management process. For advanced LGs it is suitable to include all the waste generated by households as well as the non-household waste (public buildings, trade / commerce, agriculture, industry) that is collected by or on behalf of the municipalities. The waste management plan as integrated part or rather a separate document of your SEAP should provide details about the following information:

  • Description of the organisation / actors / responsibilities of the municipal waste management system;
  • Type of existing waste streams within your LG with details on waste reduction, re-use, recycle, energy recovery and disposal;
  • Numbers of households / public and private facilities in relation to the number of persons and the generation of waste;
  • Total bin volume; spatial distribution of bins; collection intervals;
  • Collection vehicles (number, volume, fuel, efficiency).


The Solid Waste Tool gives guidance on how to extend this waste management information in more detail, but for the purpose of the development, monitoring and evaluation of energy measures and indicators of a SEAP, these aspects are sufficient.


Source: Ben Cooper

Before starting to optimise your local waste management to save and recover energy more efficiently four important points should be
considered within the municipal energy and waste departments:

1.    What mandate does the EU and national waste legislation give my LG and where are opportunities as well as barriers to locally advance?
2.    What human, technical and financial resources are needed?
3.    On what issues a participatory or an expert approach is required?
4.    Which elements of a centralised and decentralised strategy would be likely to succeed within the LG administration and towards the community stakeholders?

After this preparatory phase of an integrated waste management as part of the SEAP development or improvement, the strategic planning process is recommended to proceed by:

  • Identifying energy users/sources as well as recovery options within specific waste streams;
  • Setting targets and prioritising them in accordance to the available resources and expected impact;
  • Analysing different local and regional waste scenarios to achieve your SEAP targets;
  • Selection of a waste scenario and development of respective short-term and long-term measures concerning e.g. behaviour change, internal and external coordination, introduction on energy efficient and recovering technologies etc..

After the implementation the integrated waste management strategy is regularly to be accessed and adjusted in relation to the achieved impact and possible political resets of local climate and energy targets.

•    To access more information on how to develop strategic, cost-effective waste management systems the Practical Guidebook on Strategic Planning in Municipal Waste Management as well as the conceptualising Tools for decision-makers of the Urban Waste Experience Programme is recommendable.
•    Also review recent technology and finance options which are used in municipal waste management in Germany and beyond.

The Pre-waste methodology – saving energy and resources by strong prevention plans and actions

The most sustainable energy is the one you don’t need to use to accomplish your aims. Thus in order to save energy and the depletion of resources from the start, it is highly recommended that your LG develops a strategy and action plan for waste prevention. If respective measures are successfully implemented, they will impact significantly on your energy or rather greenhouse gas emissions of your SEAP.
A consortium of waste experts recently developed within the project pre-waste, a respective methodology that aims to enable regional and local authorities to implement an effective waste prevention policy in terms of planning, monitoring and implementation.
•    Improve the effectiveness of your pre-waste process and study a synthesis document of the pre-waste methodology that highlights key elements and guiding examples of waste prevention actions implemented by LGs across the European Union.
•    Further watch a video on phonebloks and get inspired to save energy by thinking out of the box when procuring electronic devices at the next occasion.

Improving economic and financial analysis

The development of SEAPs can be seen as a strong political statement as well as long-term commitment. However, the local political play and the thematic emphasis of the enabling framework conditions that influence the improvement process substantially can change. But this situation might not be to your disadvantage, as it gives the political as well as administrative decision-makers the chance to analyse SEAPs from different perspectives and to create a continuous drive. Moreover governmental funding programmes that support LGs tent to follow these temporarily emphases.

The recent United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, manifested the concept of a green economy. The concept was taken on by the EU, its members as well as various local governments and presents such a (funding) opportunity. Existing SEAPs can be assessed and improved with the perspective of a green urban economy. Especially, the municipal waste management should be part of this assessment due to its pivotal role in creating a low carbon, circular economy whereby the generation of waste is reduced, the materials and its inherent energy is being re-used, recycled or recovered.

Source: ISWA

The key paper Sustainable Solid Waste Management and the Green Economy of the International Solid Waste Association provides you with arguments and approaches to improve your sustainable energy measures on waste through an economic analysis. 
The Economic Valuation of Environmental Externalities from Landfill Disposal and Incineration of Waste, a study promoted by the European Commission, provides LGs with the key standard values for a cost-benefit analysis and gives an overview of the main externalities, pathways and impacts of emissions.

SWOT analysis – foundation for strategic municipal and community waste planning

There exist common and individual problems for local governments related to waste reduction, reuse, material recycling and energy recovery. In order to capture the current situation on municipal and community waste holistically and set a plan that corresponds to the local and regional capacity, needs and challenges, the SWOT analysis presents a suitable tool to identify:

  • Local Strengths (to exploit / develop) and Weaknesses (to reduce)
  • Regional and national Opportunities (to use) and Threats (to limit)

The Low Cost Zero Waste Municipality project co‐funded by the European Regional Development Fund, mapped out seventeen measures of the municipal waste management and treatment cycle following the SWOT analysis. Factsheets and good practice related to the analysed measures such as separately collected biowaste, construction waste, recycling centres or charging schemes are summarised by the document Transnational SWOT Analysis on waste management concepts, and help LGs to find new answers towards the 2nd generation of SEAPs.


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