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Review of EUROSTATs reporting method and statistics

The main objective of this survey has been to evaluate how national waste statistics in Europe related to food waste/waste are registered and reported, to assess how they are further used by Eurostat to establish a common European statistical basis for waste statistics, and to give input to how FUSIONS can contribute to the methodological basis for these statistics. Contact with Eurostat and its national representatives has been of great value for the project, both in this short evaluation period and hopefully in further project work where coordination with activities organized through Eurostat is important for FUSIONS.

 

The present system for how waste statistics are collected and reported by Eurostat is presented in several documents which are reviewed in the report. The Manual for Waste Statistics where the formal bases as well as the methodological framework, definitions, classifications and reporting requirements are described, gives a comprehensive overview of the system.

 

The main aim of the EU statistics on waste is to monitor the implementation of waste policy throughout EU countries, and especially the compliance with principles of recovery and safe disposal. The European Waste Categories classifications (EWC) is mandatory for reporting of national waste statistics data to Eurostat. The Eurostat Manual for data gathering does describe three main methodologies being surveys administrative data or other sources, statistical estimation procedures, and a combinations of the above methods.

 

Although there are well described methodologies for waste statistics available in the Manual, all countries are free to choose their own methodological framework which makes it difficult to evaluate waste figures cross-nationally on a detailed level, both in total and per capita. Comparisons of waste statistics between nations must thus be done carefully as differences in methodologies might give biased results. Monitoring development over time within nations is however not influenced by this lack of common methodologies, provided the methodology used is persistent over time, and can give valuable information concerning effects of policy measures and regulations.

 

The waste statistics is based on treatment methods of waste which makes it impossible to follow the waste from the source to the treatment, which also means that it is not possible to follow, for example, waste from a certain sector and how it is treated.

 

Each set of waste data from the member states has a quality report attached, which is mandatory according to EU Waste Regulation EC 2150/2002. In these reports the member states describe the methodology used, derivations between different years, uncertainties etc. for the total waste statistics. Based on the quality reports the most common up-scaling methodology is to scale up data collected from a sample of companies to a whole sector based on economic factors (turnover), number of employees or a certain number of inhabitants in a municipality. The quality reports also show that most countries are collecting data based on the List of Waste (LoW) categorization and then use a key for transformation to EWC-Stat categories.

 

This evaluation of the Eurostat system has shown that there are formal and methodological elements that make it difficult to use the statistics for generating reliable food waste statistics to be used for creating reliable time series. Firstly there are no common methodologies prescribed for gathering waste data nationally. Secondly, the waste categories defined in EWC-Stat are on a highly aggregated level and contain various amounts of waste that are not directly related to the food sector which makes it difficult to sort out relevant food waste data. Thirdly, to cover food waste, it is thus necessary to make the categorization more detailed in national statistics, and there should also be distinguished clearly between different subcategories of food waste. Based on the objectives of the FUSIONS project and especially the reports from Work Package 1, we foresee that the project can make a significant contribution to improving the basis for collecting data on food waste on a voluntary basis alongside with the formal requirements imposed by EU taking its starting point in the present EU statistics.

 

Three important areas in which FUSIONS should collaborate directly with Eurostat and national representatives in order to contribute are:

‐ Development of “Best practice methodologies” for collection of data from different parts of the food chain, and for up-scaling to branch statistics or national statistics, based on a comprehensive literature review. 4 | FUSIONS Reducing food waste through social innovation

‐ Development of indicators for food waste statistics on a national level, to make data as comparable as possible between countries.

‐ Gathering of data in member states that are partners in the FUSIONS project and making those available as a basis for national food waste statistics.

 

As there are well established connections between FUSIONS partners and national waste statistics representatives there should be good potential for such collaboration.

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