A research consortium, with members including Defra, WRAP and 14 councils, led by Environmental Resources Management, has backed a unique project (http://bit.ly/17dgJAJ) to develop a waste prevention benefits calculator.
The project fills a key data gap in understanding waste prevention, and addresses the challenge inherent in quantifying the benefits of something that is no longer there.
The project has focused on the tonnages prevented by specific measures, the associated costs or cost savings and the carbon benefits delivered or impacts incurred in each case.
Encouragingly, the understanding that waste prevention is ‘good’ is borne out by the calculator’s results. The cost and carbon savings sought through waste prevention are confirmed and shown to be far from insignificant.
Nevertheless, there is more work to be done where data is relatively poor. The next target is to report on nationally applicable trends and statistics from key waste prevention schemes: Love Food Hate Waste, textiles reuse, and WEEE reuse.
The results will support Defra and WRAP in the preparation of the Waste Prevention Plan, and answer the fundamental question of waste prevention, ‘where is the money going?’
Hannah Beeby, ERM