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Municipal Waste Composition: Review of Municipal Waste Component Analyses - WR0119

Description
Defra requires reliable information on the composition of municipal waste to monitor progress towards current recycling and recovery targets and to set challenging, but realistic, targets for the future. Defra also needs to understand the factors influencing the generation and composition of municipal waste to produce effective policies on waste reduction and recovery. Similar information is needed by national regulators, local authorities and the waste management industry if the UK is to meet its international obligations, including those arising from the Landfill Directive.

In recent years, many municipal waste compositional surveys have been undertaken in the UK through a number of research programmes. This research has been commissioned by governmental organisations, by environmental bodies under the landfill tax credit scheme and by local authorities and waste management companies. The information obtained forms a potentially valuable resource that will help to meet Defra’s data needs. However, there is a need to collate the information, compare and review critically the methodology and results from the different projects and to identify areas where further research is necessary. Other European nations have also carried out waste composition surveys and there may be lessons that the UK can learn from these projects.

The overall purpose of this study was to enhance understanding of the current knowledge of the composition of municipal waste, and to inform the needs for further research and detail how these needs may be met. This was achieved by reviewing the results from municipal waste compositional surveys undertaken over the past four years in the UK and Europe, bringing these results together where possible to increase their applicability and identifying the areas where information is missing.
Objective
The overall purpose of this study was to enhance understanding of the current knowledge of the composition of municipal waste, and to inform the needs for further research and detail how these needs may be met.

More specifically the aims and objectives were to:

1. Determine the evaluation process for assessing UK municipal solid waste (MSW) compositional studies/datasets and their methodologies, according to rigorous and consistent criteria

2. Map and obtain all significant and relevant UK MSW compositional studies/datasets

3. Critically review previous work undertaken to review UK MSW compositional studies/datasets and/or assess robustness and relative merits of methodologies employed in these studies/datasets

4. Develop best currently available assessment of UK MSW compositional evidence and conduct gap analysis with respect to issues linked to policy drivers for Defra, the Devolved Administrations and environmental regulators

5. Develop best currently available assessment of robustness and relative merits of methodologies employed in UK MSW compositional studies/datasets, particularly in respect of designing methodologies for a Municipal Waste Analysis Programme (MWAP), and taking account the data needs identified in the gap analysis (point 4), and where relevant taking account of methodologies employed in studies conducted outside the UK

6. Summation of UK MSW compositional evidence in respect of issues listed in point 4, with assessment of robustness and summary gap analysis to identify further research requirements

7. Make detailed suggestions for design of the MWAP, based on meeting the data needs identified in the summary gap analysis and taking into account the following factors:

(a) priorities for data needs
(b) cost effectiveness of different operational approaches
(c) cost effectiveness of different sampling techniques in relation to data robustness (with reference to anticipated confidence intervals in the data).
Project Documents
• Final Report : WR0119 "Municipal Waste Composition: Review of Municipal Waste Component Analyses" - Final Report   (538k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0119 "Municipal Waste Composition: Review of Municipal Waste Component Analyses" Annex 1 - Scope and aims of the project   (97k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0119 "Municipal Waste Composition: Review of Municipal Waste Component Analyses" Annex 10 - Statistical Review   (296k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0119 "Municipal Waste Composition: Review of Municipal Waste Component Analyses" Annex 2 - Data collation methods   (100k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0119 "Municipal Waste Composition: Review of Municipal Waste Component Analyses" Annex 3 - Mapping and evaluation of collated data   (1013k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0119 "Municipal Waste Composition: Review of Municipal Waste Component Analyses" Annex 4 - Analysis of collated studies and updated estimates of national municipal waste composition   (1937k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0119 "Municipal Waste Composition: Review of Municipal Waste Component Analyses" Annex 5 - Review of waste auditing methodologies   (221k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0119 "Municipal Waste Composition: Review of Municipal Waste Component Analyses" Annex 6 - Gap analysis of municipal waste compositional evidence   (105k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0119 "Municipal Waste Composition: Review of Municipal Waste Component Analyses" Annex 7 - Conclusions and recommendations for future work   (143k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0119 "Municipal Waste Composition: Review of Municipal Waste Component Analyses" Annex 8 - Compositional data evaluation criteria   (156k)
• Final Report - Annex : WR0119 "Municipal Waste Composition: Review of Municipal Waste Component Analyses" Annex 9 - Case study: analysis of plastics composition at a secondary level of categorisation   (178k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2008

To: 2008

Cost: £52,260
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Resources Futures
Keywords
Analysis              
Environmental Protection              
Monitoring              
Recycling              
Sustainable Consumption and Production              
Sustainable Resource Consumption and Management              
Understanding waste composition and trends              
Waste              
Waste Management              
Fields of Study
Waste Management