More Than Just Recycling. How Does the Goal of Zero Waste Impact Upon Ways of Thinking About Governance in Scotland?

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    As an alternative philosophy of waste management, a synonym for recycling targets or a utopian vision for sustainable economic system, zero waste is a globally recognised but indefinite term. Research has begun to consider where the concept is found in academia, however, although the term zero waste is widely used, little attention has been paid to the concept’s broader influence. Zero waste has been particularly ignored in governance scholarship. This paper is about the effect of zero waste on governance in Scotland. Using data from expert interviews and policy documents, the paper presents how zero waste is understood in a Scottish policy context and how this definition has shaped government waste management strategies. These findings are explored through a governmentality framing. The framework is used to illuminate where and how the concept of zero waste has encouraged policy-makers to question existing institutions and practices and to explore new ways of thinking about governance. Although suggesting a diversification from advanced-liberal governmentalities, analysis also shows that policy-makers lack the framing to make sense of these alternative ways of governing. The paper argues that this confusion may limit the potential of zero waste to encourage transformational change. The paper concludes by suggesting that collaborations between social scientists and policy-makers could offer a potential opportunity to support the continued transition towards a new form of sustainable governance through the zero waste policy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2016
    EventAssociation of American Geographers Annual Conference - San Francisco, United States
    Duration: 28 Mar 2016 → …


    ConferenceAssociation of American Geographers Annual Conference
    Abbreviated titleAAG
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CitySan Francisco
    Period28/03/16 → …


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