The issue of disposal and waste actually consists of four more fundamental issues: scarcity of raw materials, pollution, hygiene (health and safety) and social responsibility. Therefore one could argue that the Oiconomy Standard considers waste a fundamental sustainability issue. However we choose to do so, because disposal and waste make an issue related to all products, industries and households and because waste management is a fundamental way to increase sustainability awareness.
Waste management should start with a sound definition of the concept of waste, which not always is very clear. Important issues to be considered are the earth’s resilience and the amount of times a substance is recyclable. Waste may either or not be burnt and if burnt, this may either or not produce toxic substances and it may either or not be with energy recovery. A company can only demonstrate a good waste management if it continuously measures, monitors and tracks waste flows.
The Oiconomy Standard will categorize waste into logical groups and uses the marginal costs of prevention per category, as measured for major waste issues, as measure for the ESCU’s (the sustainability score).
The standard systematically leads the investigating company through the different stages of the life cycle and the potential sources of waste.