Indicator Name, Target and Goal
Indicator 11.6.1: Proportion of municipal solid waste collected and managed in controlled facilities out of total municipal waste generated, by cities
Target 11.6: By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Definition and Rationale
This indicator is defined as the proportion of municipal solid waste collected and managed in controlled facilities out of total municipal solid waste generated, by cities.
Solid Waste is the garbage or refuse generated by households, offices, industries and commercial activities within an urban area.
Municipal Solid Waste is wastes generated by households, and wastes of a similar nature generated by commercial and industrial premises, by institutions such as schools, hospitals, care homes and prisons, and from public spaces such as streets, markets, slaughter houses, public toilets, bus stops, parks, and gardens. The definition of MSW should follow the local definitions so it is important to annotate the local and national definition(s) of MSW. However, MSW should exclude the mineral waste.
Total Municipal Solid Waste Generated by the City is the sum of collected municipal solid waste and uncollected municipal solid waste
Municipal Solid Waste Collected refers to waste that is regularly collected from specific addresses or designated collection points. Collection frequency will depend on local conditions and on any pre-separation of the waste. For example, both mixed waste and organic waste are often collected daily in tropical climates for public health reasons, and generally at least weekly; source separated dry recyclables may be collected less frequently.
Uncollected Municipal Solid Waste refers to waste generated in a city but uncollected due to the lack of collection services.
Municipal Solid Waste Managed in Controlled Facilities refers to waste being accepted in a facility that has reached at least an intermediate level of control out of collected municipal solid waste. The level of control for a particular facility can be assessed using qualitative criteria including 1) degree of control over waste reception and general site management; 2) degree of control over waste treatment and disposal and 3) degree of monitoring and verification of environmental control. A score of at least 10 on each criterion is the threshold required to be considered as ‘controlled’.
International data collection efforts (e.g., UNSD/ United Nations Environment Programme Questionnaire on Environment Statistics-Waste Section) exclude waste from municipal sewage network and treatment, municipal construction and demolition waste from the definition of Municipal Solid Waste. Possible data collected for this SDG indicator , if allowed for disaggregation by these categories can enable reporting for both the SDG and for other international reporting (e.g., UNSD/ United Nations Environment Programme Questionnaire).
Comments and Limitations:
Collection of data for the indicator will require training and capacity development for monitoring at both national and local level. The precision of data on total municipal solid waste generation is disputable. In general, developed countries have solid waste data collection systems but most of the middle and low-income countries do not have data. In these countries and cities, household survey and other complimentary surveys can be conducted for the estimation of municipal waste generation per capita. However, one of the key challenges of data precision in the middle to low income countries is the lack of accurate population data in their jurisdiction, particularly regarding slums, where usually no waste collection service is taking place. The judgement on the level of control of waste management facilities, including composting, recycling, incineration facilities in a city, requires high level of technical capacity and large investment in human resources.
Rationale and Interpretation:
A sustainable city must collect and appropriately manage all its solid waste in order to improve the standards of living and cleanliness. Integrated solid waste management (ISWM) strategies are also necessary for environmental sustainability and effective resource management.
Data Sources and Collection Method
Municipal Solid Waste Generation Per Capita
For countries and cities that have the data already, data can be collected through municipal record. For countries and cities that do not have the data, a household survey to identify daily waste generation should be done, at least two times a year in different seasons. In the household survey, liner bags will be distributed to each household to be surveyed and ask head of household to put 7 days of waste generated. Then the liner bags are collected and its weight is measured. Household to be surveyed should be picked up according to the income levels. Municipal waste from other sources such as market, restaurants, hotels, schools and so on also should be measured.
Population in the City
Municipal Solid Waste Managed in a Controlled Facility
Survey on the qualitative judgement of waste treatment and facility as well as daily amount of waste received by the facilities is required. The sheet below can be utilised.
Survey Sheet Example for Recycling and Treatment Facilities
Treatment facility name
Degree of control score
Type of waste
Amount of solid waste received
Amount of sewage sludge
Amount of residue
Where residue is exported
Survey Sheet Example for Disposal Facilities
Landfill sites name
Operation start year
Degree of control score
Amount of MSW received
Amount of sewage sludge received
Globally, data are already being collected for the related statistics contained in the UNSD/United Nations Environment Programme Questionnaire, and methodological guidance for the statistics is being developed in the methodology sheet on waste statistics of the Manual on the Basic Set of Environment Statistics (https://unstats.un.org/unsd/envstats/fdes/manual_bses.cshtml).
Method of Computation and Other Methodological Considerations
The indicator is calculated as follows:
Total municipal solid waste generated by the city can be estimated by multiplication of the municipal solid waste generation per capita and population of the city. When the municipal solid waste generation per capita is not available, household survey for a daily waste generation in household and other premises (e.g. restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, etc) should be conducted. Since the waste generation can differ according to the seasons, the survey should be conducted at least two times a year to estimate the municipal solid waste generation per capita.
Municipal solid waste managed in controlled facility is estimated through qualitative judgement of the degree of environmental control of facilities where the city’s municipal waste is collected and transported. The judgement of environmental control can be conducted in line with the criteria below. Another important thing is to deduct residue amount from treatment facilities to avoid double count.
(1) Degree of control over waste reception and handling at each site. This criterion should be applied to all treatment and disposal sites, whatever the specific process being used.
Factors affecting the assessment include:
a. No control
b. Low level of control
c. Medium level of control
d. Medium/High level of control
e. High level of control
0 is scored
(2) Degree of control over both the waste treatment and disposal process in use at each site and over any potential emissions.
This criterion covers both the presence of the necessary technologies, and the operating procedures for their proper use.
The nature of controls required will depend on both the process employed and on the potential emissions. As an example, the table below provides guidance on how the general principles can be applied to land disposal and thermal treatment (using the specific example of mass-burn incineration).
For biological treatment, the detail will vary with the type of process (e.g. windrow composting, in-vessel composting, anaerobic digestion). However, in all cases a ‘high level’ of control would imply a high degree of control over: the incoming waste (to avoid hazardous waste or contrary materials); processing temperature to ensure pathogen destruction; retention time in the process; mixing in the process (including turning of windrows); atmospheric emissions including odours and bio aerosols; and leachate collection and treatment.
Similar principles can be applied to other facilities, including mechanical-biological treatment (MBT) plants, advanced thermal treatment and new technologies for valorisation of organic waste in developing countries. In each case, the user may use the following scoring tables as a ‘best judgment’ guideline for scoring.
Where a fuel is being made from waste to be burnt elsewhere, then the assessment should include the process and emission controls at the user facilities.
(3) Degree of monitoring and verification of environmental controls (Includes the existence and regular implementation of: robust environmental permitting/ licensing procedures; regular record keeping, monitoring and verification carried out by the facility itself; AND monitoring, inspection and verification by an independent regulatory body)
The environmental monitoring programme and process control record keeping required will be specific to the type of facility.
a. No compliance
0 is scored
Level of Control
Uncontrolled dumping – no controls
Uncontrolled burning lacking most ‘control’ functions
Low (Semi-controlled facility)
Site staffed; waste placed in designated area; some site equipment
Site staffed; some containment and management of combustion process; basic operating procedures to control nuisance
Medium (Controlled facility)
Waste compacted using site equipment; waste covered (at least irregularly)
Emission controls to capture particulates; trained staff follow set operating procedures; equipment properly maintained; ash properly managed
Medium/high (Engineered facility)
Engineered landfill site: use daily cover material; some level of leachate containment and treatment; collection of landfill gas
High levels of engineering and process control over residence time, turbulence and temperature; emission controls to capture acid gases and capture dioxins; active management of flyash.
High (State-of-the-art facility)
Fully functional sanitary landfill site: properly sited and designed; leachate containment (naturally consolidated clay on the site or constructed liner); leachate & gas collection; gas flaring and/or utilization; final cover; post closure plan
Built to and operating in compliance with international best practice including eg. EU or other similarly stringent stack and GHG emission criteria Flyash managed as a hazardous waste using best appropriate technology.
Data for this indicator can be disaggregated at the city and town levels.
- Disaggregation by population (waste generation per capita)
- Disaggregation by type of facility
- Disaggregation by material type, i.e., by municipal sewage network and treatment, municipal construction and demolition waste and any other
Official SDG Metadata URL
Internationally agreed methodology and guideline URL
UN-Habitat (2010). Solid Waste management in the World Cities Water and Sanitation in the World’s Cities, Earthscan, London, ISBN 978-1-84971-169-2 http://mirror.unhabitat.org/pmss/listItemDetails.aspx?publicationID=2918
UN Environment (2015) Global Waste Management Outlook, ISBN: 978-92-807-3479-9 http://web.unep.org/ourplanet/september-2015/unep-publications/global-waste-management-outlook
United Nations Statistics Division/United Nations Environment Programme United Nations Statistics Division/United Nations Environment Programme Questionnaire on Environment Statistics, https://unstats.un.org/unsd/envstats/questionnaire
United Nations Statistics Division, UNSD Environmental Indicators, https://unstats.un.org/unsd/envstats/qindicators
International Solid Waste Management Association (2015) Roadmap to Closing Waste Dumpsites The World’s Most Polluted Places, http://www.iswa.org/fileadmin/galleries/About%20ISWA/ISWA_Roadmap_Report.pdf Accessed on 26 November, 2016
Wilson et al - Wasteaware ISWM indicators - doi10.1016j.wasman.2014.10.006 - January 2015
International Organization(s) for Global Monitoring
This document was prepared based on inputs from UN-Habitat and United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).
For focal point information for this indicator, please visit https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/dataContacts/
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