Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Social sustainability assessment methodology for waste management planning

A set of social sustainability criteria and indicators has be developed which allow for monitoring and benchmarking of municipal waste management systems (MWMS), from a social sustainability perspective, both in the planning phase (through modelling) as well as the existing ones.

The social impact indicators are oriented on the concept of quality of life. The primary indicators assess social acceptance for a waste management options ("social acceptability") and whether the service is available to all citizens at acceptable conditions ("social equity"). Needs of both the receivers of the waste management service as well as the providers (employees) are addresses ("social function"). Priority aspects that are considered are the following: citizens rights and obligations, employee rights and obligations, services suppliers responsibilities, government or controlling authorities responsibilities, social and environmental protection and community involvement.

The following list of "relevant" criteria and indicators for measuring social sustainability have been selected and described within the three different stages of the waste management system chain (temporary storage, collection and transport and waste pre-treatments and treatments):
- social acceptability: odour, visual impact, convenience, urban space, private space, noise, traffic, complexity and risk perception.
- social equity: distribution and location of containers, employment quality.
- social function: recycling/destination, direct employment creation.

A simpler and more objective set of indicators has been developed which support informed decision making at the level of required transparency. With help of these indicators it is possible to detect the substances, and hence also components of the waste management, contributing most to the overall social impact. The social indicators are scientifically justified, practical and easily understandable for a decision maker.

The targeted End-Users of these indicators are various actors involved in waste management planning and monitoring:
i) primarily, in the cities and regions with fast growing economies (for planning assessment an optimisation)
ii) secondly, in any other European regions (for monitoring, benchmarking and optimisation).

Namely, the target End-Users are:
- Municipalities and local/regional authorities responsible for spatial and waste management planning and development in cities
- Institutes and Consultancies developing or/and evaluating local waste management plans
- Official and decision makers who verify the proposed developed strategies for waste management in cities and regions.

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Avinguda dels Paisos Catalans 26
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