Effective waste strategy planning for sustainable and integrated waste management is predicated on high-quality information. However a review of recent local authority waste strategies in England, part of a research project into effective use of data and analysis in waste strategy planning carried out by researchers at the Open University, showed little evidence of being based on thorough analysis. Lack of good data on many aspects of performance restricts what can be achieved in planning better integrated, more sustainable waste management provision. This paper draws from the results of that project and illustrates improvements that could be achieved by using better quality data and analysis to inform decision making. The research explored the use of various types of information and analysis including compositional analysis and establishing diversion rates; scenario building; applications of geographical information systems; understanding and measuring public participation; the use of trials to collect relevant data; and understanding of the effects of recycling schemes on residual waste composition. The general principals and methodologies of each approach are illustrated by examples derived from the authors’ analysis and interpretation of local authority data provided by case study partners, and show how local data can provide relevant and effective local answers
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