Beyond recycling: an integrated approach for understanding municipal waste management

Stewart W Barr, Steven Guilbert, Alan Metcalfe, Mark Riley, Guy M Robinson, Terry L Tudor

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


Recent decades have witnessed a major increase in structured recycling services offered to households across the developed world, in large part providing a kerbside pick-up of materials for recycling in addition to waste destined for landfill sites. Yet despite these service improvements, local authorities still face major challenges in reducing the overall volume of materials collected and the appropriate treatment of an expanding range of materials, including food and garden wastes. Moving ‘up’ the waste hierarchy towards reduction, re-use and repair raises questions about the ways in which municipal authorities can effectively engage individuals to conceptualise and deal with household materials in ways that move beyond the simple disposal of things, to a re-consideration of ‘waste’ through new practices of (re)creating value via both habitual and externally-driven behaviours. Utilising an analysis of quantitative survey data from research undertaken in the Royal Borough of Kingston, London, this paper argues that new practices of (re)creating value are underlain by both individualistic and social characteristics, and through the use of a segmentation analysis, the paper presents an example of the ways in which ideas concerning the discrete ‘social marketing’ of pro-environmental behavioural change can be challenged through unveiling the complexity of waste-related practices
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Geography
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013


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