Toolkit: Marine litter retention, Planning your project, Project budget

See also: Your local situation | Objectives | Expected outcomes

The cost of a marine litter retention project will vary greatly depending on the size of the project (number of ports and vessels participating), the communication activities undertaken, the number of staff involved, the labour costs, the waste management system already in place and the amounts of litter landed. The costs of the project coordinator and waste treatment are likely to be the most significant cost items. These costs might be covered by an in-kind contribution from your own organisation and a waste management company that you involve, as well as from national or international grants or other funding sources. See the section on Funding for your project for more details on this. 

An Excel template costs sheet is available for download to help you track different types of costs, covering capital, operating and set-up costs. For each, example types of costs and figures are given to illustrate how the template works. These examples should be replaced with the actual cost types and amounts for the project. By clicking on the cells in the template, you will see that many of them contain formulas; this means numbers are calculated automatically to facilitate the preparation of your project budget. In other cases, the value of a cell is simply transferred to a cell in another sheet so that changes are directly reflected in all necessary places and summary figures are adjusted (a letter-number combination in the cell such as “B2” helps to identify these cells). If you change the structure of the budget you will have to take this into account; you might simply delete some of the formulas or copy them where necessary. The figures in the Excel sheet represent a hypothetical and very simplified project – you will see that some costs are not reflected. These figures are for illustrative purposes and you will need to modify and adapt them according to your project.

Capital equipment: This part of the template allows for depreciation costs to be calculated and considers whether the equipment is pre-owned or purchased for the purpose of the project. ‘Depreciation’ allows you to calculate the loss in value of an asset, such as equipment, over the lifetime of the asset so that these costs can be claimed as costs of your project. If equipment is used for other purposes, the template allows you to calculate the costs of the equipment for the time that it is dedicated to your project. 

Operating expenses: These are the recurring costs that the project will have over its lifetime. Expenses such as management staff, supplies, materials, fees, etc. are included here. It is important to distinguish whether the amount of these costs is fixed (for example, project management time) or variable according to the number of fishermen participating or amount of marine litter collected (for example, the cost of waste containers (‘big bags’) or waste management fees).

Set-up costs: These are one-off costs that will occur only at the beginning of the project rather than on a regular basis. In the case of marine litter retention projects, these set-up costs may include the extra staff working time needed during the planning of the project. They will need to be amortised (spread) across the lifetime of the project in order to get an accurate understanding of project costs per year. The template allows you to spread out these costs over the course of your project.

The Excel sheet referred to above sets out the cost structure of a hypothetical project running for four years. Initial set-up costs are estimated at €14,450, including staff costs and operating expenses. The subsequent annual costs are composed of staff costs (2 people, full time and part time, 1 external expert for 5 days per year: €81,900 per year), operating expenses (rental of facilities, purchase of 80 big bags per month, waste management: €29,600 per year), depreciation of capital equipment (office equipment, containers for marine litter reception: €5,270 per year) and the amortisation of set-up costs. This adds up to total project costs of €481,350 for the four-year period (€122,000 per year). As mentioned above, this hypothetical financial structure can vary substantially. One of the projects assessed by the MARELITT project reported costs of around €48,000 for one year of project duration (including promotional material, containers, waste management costs, labour costs).

A Summary page for total figures is provided in the Excel sheet. The costs there are copied from the three previous worksheets accordingly.

Your project budget will be the basis for developing your funding strategy and approaching potential project sponsors. You will find more guidance on this in the section Funding your project.

Budget template for marine litter retention projects