Official waste statistics have been produced for more than 40 years. They were initially developed to monitor and manage threats to human health and the environment. More recently, information needs have shifted toward realizing the economic value of waste, particularly in the context of the “circular economy”. This change has created demand for information on waste types that have not traditionally been measured, for example, electronic, food and textile wastes. Greater insight is also sought into the economic value of waste and wastes that are difficult to measure, including those processed by workers in the informal sector. This growing interest is reflected in the fact that several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal indicators refer directly to waste and its management.
This document serves as a guide for statisticians compiling national waste statistics and contributes to the further harmonisation of international waste statistics. Its proposed expanded scope of waste statistics provides an important foundation for measuring the circular economy and other production and consumption-related policy areas.
The Waste Statistics Framework was developed by a dedicated UNECE Task Force established by the Conference of European Statisticians. The Framework was endorsed in 2021 by the Heads of national statistical offices of more than 60 countries who are members of the Conference, and major international organizations.