How to establish a re-use baseline

15th June 2016

This guide provides a step by step approach to developing a re-use baseline and using it to monitor and evaluate progress.  

Highlights
Where are we now?
Information gathering, recording and analysis
Sample surveys and data collection
Using your baseline to estimate future re-use potential

Video

Introduction

Monitoring and evaluating the impacts of a re-use initiative requires the establishment of a re-use baseline against which opportunities can be identified, targets developed, and progress measured and monitored.

In addition to allowing the current level of re-use to be calculated, establishing the baseline will also help in identifying the range of re-use organisations in your area, their current capacity and the potential options for partnership working. Developing a robust baseline is therefore an essential component of any strategy for increasing re-use.

Decide what to measure

The first step is to decide what you are going to measure. Waste management is traditionally a tonnage driven sector and information on tonnes of items re-used will be important when reporting against targets. 

However, there are a range of other indicators that are equally important, both for partner organisations and for other local authority stakeholders, for instance:

  • The number of items re-used.
  • The types of items re-used.
  • The economic value of items re-used, e.g. sales value of sold items.
  • Social impacts. 

Gathering the data

There is a range of data that will be important to establishing your re-use baseline. For simplicity, this guide divides the data gathering areas into council services (bulky waste collections and HWRCs) and external re-use capacity (e.g. furniture re-use organisation activity).

Producing the baseline

It can be useful to pull your gathered data together into a baseline matrix that summarises the key points and allows the data to be quickly reviewed and assessed. The range of metrics to include on the baseline matrix will be determined by the quality and quantity of information you have and your strategic aims. These are best produced and stored in a spreadsheet format.

Keeping the baseline up to date

The work achieved in establishing the initial baseline will prove valuable for the ongoing monitoring of re-use. The information gathered can be used to communicate with your partner organisations the impact of the initiative as well as providing data for reports to colleagues and members on the positive impact the work is having.  

The monitoring and evaluation data can also be used to review and set new targets building on the elements of the partnership that are working and looking to improve the areas that are not.