Rationale - what it means and why it is an important measure
Wastes are substances or products that are a result of consumption and are designed for either final disposal (for instance, as domestic garbage to landfill) or recycling. Recycling involves using the same material more than once; therefore, recycling saves resources and reduces contamination. Pollution from contaminated wastes may affect the quality of drinking water and the level of air pollution; human health may be impacted in turn.
How it is compiled, what data are needed
The percentage of waste recycled per fraction. All categories (total amount of waste, wastes by fractions) include domestic waste, as well as wastes generated by sector.
This indicator should be measured annually.
Measurements and units
glass (% recycled) metal (% recycled) paper (% recycled) plastic (% recycled)
Possible temporal and spatial format
trend charts, graphs
Reference to methodology resources
OECD, 1997. Better Understanding Our Cities: The Role of Urban Indicators. EEA Indicator Set.
ICLEI, 2000. Measuring Progress, Cities 21: Pilot Project Final Report.
To increase the percentage of recycled waste fractions.
Targets, benchmarks, reference values
No related international standards.
References to examples of application
State of the Environment in Arendal, 1999. Recycled household wastes: http://www.ceroi.net/reports/arendal/index.htm
State of the Environment in Durban, 1999. Recycling initiatives: http://ceroi.net/reports/durban/issues/waste/recycle.htm#
Other comments / background
This paper from the "Annual Review of Energy and the Environment" documents the major environmental advantages of recycling compared to disposal using landfilling and incineration: http://www.edf.org/AboutEDF/denison.pdf