Loschiavo dos Santos, Maria Cecilia, Walker, Stuart, Dias, Sylmara Lopes Francelino Goncalves
From Landfilling to Waste Prevention
The transformation of packaging waste from a problem into a resource has had significant consequences for a more sustainable use of natural resources and even the reduction of potential C02 emissions and its contribution to the climate change. Material recycling leads to separated material being able to replace other production or construction materials. It also means that the consumption of the amount of virgin material decreases and saves energy. Despite the growing material recycling rates, the amount of waste per person, and packaging waste among others, continues to increase. High recycling rates can be pointless if the amount of waste does not decrease. This is an example of how well established waste recovery regimes can stand in the way of more sustainable forms to handle waste (Corvellec et al, 2013) and, ultimately, hinder the development towards the EU objective (2008) of making waste simply unbecome. This chapter explores the challenges faced by waste regime transitions based on the case of the historical evolution of household waste management in Sweden. The chapter first introduces transition studies’ multi-level framework in combination with the notion of lock-in as the theoretical context to explore the Swedish case. Then, the evolution of waste handling sociotechnological systems and the challenges faced specifically by waste packaging recovery models in Sweden are presented. Finally, the cases are discussed under the prism of the theoretical framework.