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The European Waste Hierarchy: From the Socio-materiality of Waste to a Politics of Consumption

Publiceringsår: 2012
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 2413-2427
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Environment & Planning A
Volym: 44
Nummer: 10
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Pion Ltd


The production of municipal solid waste is one central concern for environmental policy, and the socio-materiality of waste – how the organisation of waste streams affects households and other waste producers – is an important issue for sustainability. This article shows how the application of European Union waste policy through its waste hierarchy affects the socio-material status of waste. The waste hierarchy (TWH) ranks the desirability of different waste management approaches according to their environmental impact. This study investigates how TWH has been acknowledged and interpreted by the Swedish EPA, the organization Swedish Waste Management that represents the interests of municipal bodies involved with waste, and two municipal waste management companies. In addition to preventing the production of waste, TWH aims to disassemble, circulate and reintroduce materials into production processes. The study shows how this shapes paradoxical relationships between economy and society on the one hand and environment and nature on the other, and opens the way for a discussion of a politics of consumption through material management.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • socio-materiality
  • waste
  • the waste hierarchy
  • consumption


  • ISSN: 0308-518X

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