RSSB develops rail industry zero waste metrics


King's Cross Station in London

The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has developed a suite of metrics to help the UK’s rail industry measure performance across the circular economy and waste management.

Working with the rail industry and global consulting expert Ricardo, the RSSB has completed the first phase of a project to develop a suite of metrics to help the rail industry measure its performance towards reaching a goal of producing zero waste and supporting a circular economy.

The RSSB says integrating the metrics across the rail industry will enable consistent measurement and support the wide-scale adoption of circular economy principles across its assets, infrastructure, and operations.

The project identified the existing reporting, data flows, and metrics used across the rail and other sectors to measure waste management, the RSSB says. From there, it created a shortlist of metrics and developed data collection plans for the implementation of metrics.

Core metrics were selected as being the highest priority for the rail industry to adopt, based on the findings from stakeholder interviews. They include:

  • Station waste generated, reported by treatment method.
  • The proportion of surplus food being redistributed.
  • Level of recycled content in rail assets and infrastructure.
  • Weight of materials in train models that can be reused or recycled at end-of-use.
  • Depot waste generated, reported by treatment method.
  • Provision of environmental training.
  • The proportion of procurement activities/contracts which include sustainability criteria in the selection criteria.

RSSB says it and Ricardo are now working with rail organisations to pilot the implementation of these data collection plans and metrics.

RSSB’s Sustainable Rail Strategy Lead, Thom Rawson, commented: “This project has established tangible and measurable metrics for the rail industry’s management of waste and recycling, and represents a significant step forward towards achieving the goal of zero waste.

This project has established tangible and measurable metrics for the rail industry’s management of waste and recycling.

“Ricardo’s systematic and collaborative approach has produced the right results, most importantly ensuring that the recommendations are supported by the rail industry. This is key to ensuring they are put into practice.

“The information gathered using these metrics will be an important element of RSSB’s Sustainable Rail Data Framework, through which we are building a data-led understanding of rail’s sustainability credentials.”

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