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Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset - WR0116

Description
Waste prevention (both reduction and reuse) is a key component of EU, national and local waste policies, but has yet to achieve its full potential. Among the main constraints are difficulties in the monitoring and measurement of waste prevention activities and campaigns.

Waste prevention is widely accepted as the highest priority for waste management, yet difficulties with measurement and monitoring have so far constrained its development and application. A number of valiant local attempts have been made to assess the impacts of various waste prevention initiatives, with greater or lesser success. Generally the problems have centred on:

(a) Difficulty in separating the effects of initiatives from external factors;
(b) Inadequate sample sizes or methodology; and
(c) Lack of applicability outside the geographical area concerned.

The first known attempt to develop a comprehensive measurement model was developed by the National Research and Waste Forum (NRWF) in the form of the Household Waste Prevention Toolkit (2004). Many of the toolkit’s measurement and monitoring ingredients required ‘road testing’.

Using the proposals set out in the NRWF Household Waste Prevention Toolkit, this three year research project, spanned the period May 2005 to March 2008. It set out to understand issues associated with implementing, monitoring and measuring waste prevention and, where possible, provide solutions. The research specifically examined the use of ‘control and pilot’ areas for monitoring and evaluating waste prevention; including establishing a means for using and setting a baseline and monitoring trends. Specific techniques were used to measure the impact and inform a suite of campaign activities such as weight-based monitoring, surveys and focus groups.

The research included a detailed analysis of the socio-demographic factors that have been found to affect waste prevention behaviour and performance; and focussed on using simple, clearly-defined waste prevention indices (i.e. kg/household/year and kg/person/year) and data-gathering protocols. This meant that measurement of trend data, over the three year period, enabled relatively small year-on-year changes to be evaluated.
Objective
The research centred on five objectives:

1. To establish a baseline and pre-existing trends against which to measure the effectiveness of the different household waste prevention initiatives.

2. To collect and analyse demographic, economic and waste collection data to guide the selection of ‘control and pilot’ areas.

3. To investigate a range of techniques for monitoring and evaluating household waste prevention initiatives.

4. To investigate the socio-demographic factors which may affect the performance of waste prevention initiatives, including promotional and marketing techniques.

5. To undertake a scoping study to explore the potential for a waste prevention knowledge network.

This research provided a unique opportunity to examine local-level approaches to monitoring and evaluating waste prevention campaigns. In particular, it demonstrated how establishing a baseline and understanding pre-existing trends are integral to a local authority establishing a long term waste reduction strategy; the importance of working in coordination with national activities including WRAP’s work on waste prevention; and how to facilitate measurement of waste prevention not just locally in Dorset, but nationally.

The consortium delivering this research, involved NRWF, WRAP, AEA, The Social Marketing Practice, Mike Read Associates and University College Northampton.
Project Documents
• Final Report : WR0116 "Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset" - Final Report   (892k)
• Final Report : WR0116 “Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset” – Lessons learned from a selection of campaign initiatives   (1694k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0116 "Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset" - Appendix 1: Dorset Research Team   (185k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0116 "Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset" - Appendix 10: Waste Prevention Network Report   (425k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0116 "Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset" - Appendix 2: Policy Context and Related Research   (253k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0116 "Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset" - Appendix 3: Segmentation and the use of Geodemographic Tools   (269k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0116 "Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset" - Appendix 4: Selecting Control and Pilot Areas and Data Analysis   (2133k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0116 "Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset" - Appendix 5: Weight-based Monitoring Data   (1376k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0116 "Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset" - Appendix 6: Measuring Campaign Activities   (1788k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0116 "Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset" - Appendix 7: Surveys   (1855k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0116 "Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset" - Appendix 8: Focus Groups   (895k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0116 "Household Waste Prevention Activity in Dorset" - Appendix 9: Lessons Learned   (246k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2005

To: 2010

Cost: £281,696
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Dorset County Council
Keywords
Analysis              
Behaviour change              
Composting              
Effective household waste prevention              
Encourage change in resource use/waste generation              
Environmental Protection              
Establishing a sound database for waste management              
Household              
Marketing              
Monitoring and evaluation              
Performance measurement and benchmarking              
Recycling              
Social Research              
Sustainable Consumption and Production              
Sustainable Resource Consumption and Management              
Techniques & methodolgies for waste management              
Understand/enhance pro-environmental behaviour              
Understanding resource flows              
Understanding socio-economic benefits of recycling              
Understanding waste composition and trends              
Waste              
Waste collection and handling systems              
Waste Management              
Fields of Study
Waste Management