This thematic area mostly focuses on the implementation of the waste hierarchy, also taking the larger perspective of material resource flows. To address the many challenges linked with material resource and waste management, it is important to understand what the best practices leading to high performances are. A better understanding of how different policies and local instruments impacts local performances can contribute to identify key recommendations, by conducting consistent comparisons and benchmarks. It is also important to connect these topics with more transversal topic such as climate change, to better identify key priorities.

Despite some progress made in the past 20 years, material resource and waste management is still underperforming in Europe. While the domestic material consumption decreased since the start of the millennium, also because of the economic crisis of 2008, it has remained quite stable for the past 10 years. There are still significant differences among and within Member State regarding the performances of waste management systems. It is unclear how much the prevention strategies and actions led in Europe for the past decades had an impact on waste generation, when they should be the priority of material resource strategies, considering that the benefits yielded from waste recycling on climate change hardly compensates the impact linked with the extraction of resources and the manufacturing of products.

Work in progress

ACR+ launched the European Waste Observatory in 2010, employing working groups to compare and cross-analyse local waste management data, with the aim of understanding variations and identifying best practices, subsequently leading to the adoption of its approach by various EU projects like Regions for Recycling in 2012 and COLLECTORS in 2017, all dedicated to enhancing data comparison and outlining essential guidelines for municipal waste management.

This Thematic Area was presented at the ACR+ General Assembly 2024. Check a summary of the event here and the presentation of the TA here.

Have a look at

Interested in the topic? You can have a look at the following resources:

Relevant projects and initiatives

 Observatory logo    WINPOL Full MediumLCA4Regions EU FLAG  SMART WASTE EU FLAG 80px WINPOL Full Medium

Biocircularcities logo small  BIOBEST LOGO 2  hoopCISUTAC logo colours  logo vertical


If you want to get involved with our work on the Thematic Area or you have any questions please contact Jean-Benoît Bel (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


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