Towards a zero waste vision: backcasting as a potential method for achieving effective policy formation

Nicholas Head, Paul S Phillips, Terry L Tudor, Margaret P Bates

Research output: Contribution to JournalConference Articlepeer-review


Waste management is a complex systemic problem with implications across economic sectors and impacts diverse areas of policy development including resource efficiency/security and energy. The current target driven policy approach; based on implementing European Union (EU) Waste Framework Directive (WFD); is considered restrictive for perceiving waste management options over the long-term. Backcasting is a social sciences methodology recently applied to waste having the potential to present complex problems in a novel manner, allowing radical change to be envisaged. A four phase methodology was developed to apply backcasting as a novel method for waste management in the United Kingdom. Phase one was a visioning workshop; phase two a detailed case study region baseline analysis; phase three development of scenario pathways; while phase four focused on identifying critical points working backwards from 2050. Initial research results are presented; namely the zero waste vision for 2050 and the detailed baseline analysis. Subsequently, the paper discusses these and the iterative process for identifying critical points and scenario pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-932
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Solid Waste Technology and Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013
Event28th International Conference on Solid Waste Technology and Management - Philadelphia , United States
Duration: 10 Mar 201313 Mar 2013


  • Waste
  • Environment


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards a zero waste vision: backcasting as a potential method for achieving effective policy formation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this