Just Waste? Municipal waste management and the politics of environmental justice

Authored with Harriet Bulkeley and published in journal Local Environment. In this paper we explore the environmental justice issues and tensions involved in rapid changes in processes and provisions of municipal waste policy.

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Watson M and H Bulkeley (2005) ‘Just Waste? Municipal waste management and the politics of environmental justice’, Local Environment 10(4): 411-426

doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13549830500160966    

ABSTRACT Municipal waste management in the UK has undergone rapid transformation in recent years in pursuit of greater sustainability. In this paper we explore the environmental justice issues and tensions involved in this shift. After a brief overview of environmental justice debates and how they have been related to issues of waste management, we describe how the policies and processes underlying the transformation from an overwhelming dependence on landfill disposal towards more sustainable methods of management has been driven by European legislation embodying principles premised on fundamental environmental concerns of inter- and intra-generational equity. We analyse the key means through which these principles have been translated to restructure local authority practices and the environmental justice issues arising from the implementation of international policy in regional and local context. Finally, we reflect on the implications of this case study for implementation of policies intended to advance both sustainability and environmental justice.

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Author: Matt Watson

A Human Geographer at the University of Sheffield, interested in how everyday human action and social orders make each other, with implications for sustainability and wellbeing. Currently looking at energy including how to tackle demand for it.

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