WFD compendium released

Learn more about our leakage assessment methodology for MSWM systems through a series of case studies.

This comprehensive compendium summarises two years of experience in implementing over 100 case studies of the Waste Flow Diagram (WFD) – a tool that assesses waste flows in municipal solid waste management (MSWM) systems and estimates the quantities of plastic pollution sources and fates. The WFD has proven to be an effective engagement tool for baselining, benchmarking, monitoring and scaling up to national leakage assessments.

The compendium shows that the WFD has primarily been used in baseline assessments as part of wider waste management projects and initiatives. The WFD can generate up to three scenarios to help plan interventions and visualise results. Conducting a series of WFDs will provide valuable data for municipal waste management plans and national plastic pollution inventories. However, it is important to note that some capacity building and data curation support will always be helpful to ensure the quality of the assessment for those wishing to use the WFD in their development programmes.

The compendium also provides valuable lessons, including the benefit of conducting a WFD assessment in parallel with other baseline and plastic emissions modelling assessments. Defining the scope of the study area, taking photographs and

geo-coordinates, ensuring data consistency, quality assurance, clarifying data ownership and consent for publication, and contextualising the results is essential for a good assessment. As the WFD is a data-driven tool, the accuracy of the data sets is critical to ensure a representative survey. The WFD can be scaled up from a single city assessment tool to a national assessment by combining the assessment of a representative selection of cities.

The compendium places the WFD in the context of other tools and presents descriptive statistics on key data indicators for 50 selected global case studies, while seven case studies are presented in detail. It provides practical implementation guidance, such as considerations for up-front data collection processes for each of the data points, a field mobilisation checklist, a case study quality assessment matrix, and a training programme. Overall, the compendium serves as a valuable resource for those seeking to apply the WFD to their waste management programmes and initiatives.

Waste Flow Diagram