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Waste Sorting

Indicator Phrasing

% of households that sort waste regularly
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of households that sort waste regularly

French: % de ménages triant régulièrement leurs déchets

Spanish: % de hogares que clasifican los residuos con regularidad

Portuguese: % de famílias que separam o lixo regularmente

Czech: % domácností, které pravidelně třídí odpad

What is its purpose?

Recycling is an important part of environmentally sensitive waste management. Therefore, this indicator measures the proportion of target households that sort waste regularly, to be recycled at available facilities.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Determine the indicator's value by using the following methodology:


1) Define what types of waste you want to ask about. Keep in mind that it only makes sense to ask about waste for which there are:

   - dedicated containers / collection points available near people’s homes

   - recycling facilities processing the waste collected from these containers / collection points

If any of these pre-conditions are missing, there is no point in measuring whether households sort waste (unless you encourage people to sort organic waste and use it to prepare compost on their own).


2) Decide on how many (or which) types of waste a household needs to sort in order to be considered as ‘sorting waste’. For example, this can be ‘at least two of the following types of waste: plastic, paper, base metal (e.g. cans) and glass’. 


3) Conduct interviews with the heads of a representative sample of the target households, asking them the following questions:


Q1: There are different types of waste that local households need to dispose of, such as food waste, plastic, cans, glass jars, paper, old clothes and other waste. Can you please tell me where you regularly dispose of such waste? Please mention all the places you use regularly. Keep probing: Is there any other place where you regularly dispose of the household waste?

A1: _

1) does not sort any type of waste

2) sorts paper

3) sorts plastic

4) sorts organic waste

5) sorts glass

6) sorts metals

7) other – specify: …………..



To calculate the indicator’s value, divide the number of households who sort the minimum number / types of waste by the total number of respondents. Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage.


Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by location.

Important Comments

1) It is not recommended to ask people directly: “Do you sort your household waste?” In many countries, people know that they should be sorting waste and they are more likely to say that they sort waste even though they do not do so.


This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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