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dc.contributor.authorKrausz, Roberten
dc.date.accessioned2013-03-25T20:19:35Z
dc.date.issued2012en
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/10182/5301
dc.description.abstractModern human society operates under a prevailing waste management paradigm, that is based upon linear systems which convert resources, through synthesis of problematic materials and disposability-focused manufacturing processes, into largely non-recoverable and poorly-degradable wastes which ultimately require dumping in landfills. Zero waste is an alternative paradigm based on circular systems thinking, where wastes are fully recovered through the use of appropriate materials only, and design for durability. The global zero waste movement has emerged in response to mounting waste-related problems which include pollution, health impacts, and the loss of land to new landfills. Zero waste initiatives have been launched around the world, primarily at the local government level where responsibility for dealing with waste typically falls. Zero waste goals range from aspirational-only to 100% diversion – the latter meaning zero waste to landfill, which is the specific focus of this study. The initial findings of this study reveal no examples of zero waste to landfill initiative success to date. A grounded approach is used to explore this relatively new phenomenon, with the threefold aim of better understanding the root causes of this chronic failure, how such campaigns might become successful, and how the zero waste to landfill story informs the wider discourse on global sustainability efforts. Four case studies are investigated in depth, using a combination of qualitative analysis from site visits, policy decisions and actions, and open-ended interviews with stakeholders, as well as quantitative analysis of waste generation trends as the limited and inconsistent nature of this available data permits. Zero waste to landfill is a supermegaproject, as it requires massive and unprecedented transformation from all sectors: retooling of industry, behaviour change from the public, and leadership from government. However, proponents consistently fail to openly recognise the full magnitude of such a goal, and as a result the launch of each campaign is followed notably by the emergence of a planning void: the lack of a sufficiently comprehensive blueprint for implementing 100% diversion. Zero waste to landfill initiatives are thus unacknowledged supermegaprojects: undertakings which are destined to fail because they lack the depth of planning and effort required to overcome the steep resistance gradient comprising industry resistance, public apathy, and a lack of leadership from government. Underpinning the consistent failure of zero waste to landfill initiatives is a stubborn preference for technical solutions, such as expanded recycling schemes, which are primarily aimed at the end-of-pipe, and have proven to be unequal to the task of achieving 100% diversion. Success in achieving zero waste to landfill appears to require a more fundamental and behaviour change-based paradigm shift, requiring top-of-pipe solutions including appropriate materials selection, increased localisation of production, and an overall circular systems approach to the relationship between resources and waste. Such transformation, though, does not appear to be possible under present economic, political and social conditions, and therefore it is not realistic for local governments to be adopting zero waste to landfill goals at this time. The waste management paradigm, nonetheless, remains an unsustainable human-caused deviation from natural equilibria based upon circular resource-waste-resource systems. As such, a shift to zero waste thinking and action is inevitable – but while it might be possible for human society to initiate this change proactively, it appears more likely that it will take a significant waste-related crisis to force the loop closed. This situation of chronic failure, leading to likely environmental crisis, appears to be a recurring theme with other global sustainability efforts beyond just zero waste – notably the failure of governments to effect meaningful behaviour change on energy use, with the result that climate change mitigation is an increasingly evident case of the failure of human society to address important ecological issues. This study, it is hoped, offers a new perspective from which the wider set of contemporary challenges to long-term sustainability can be addressed successfully.en
dc.format.extent1-330en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherLincoln Universityen
dc.subjectzero waste to landfillen
dc.subjectunacknowledged supermegaprojecten
dc.subjectplanning voiden
dc.subjecttechnical solutionsen
dc.subjectparadigm shiften
dc.subjectplanning fallacyen
dc.subjectstrategic misrepresentationen
dc.subjectcrisisen
dc.titleAll for naught? A critical study of zero waste to landfill initiativesen
dc.typeThesis
thesis.degree.grantorLincoln Universityen
thesis.degree.levelDoctoralen
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophyen
lu.contributor.unitLincoln Universityen
lu.contributor.unitFaculty of Environment, Society and Designen
lu.contributor.unitDepartment of Environmental Managementen
pubs.organisational-group/LU
pubs.organisational-group/LU/Faculty of Environment, Society and Design
pubs.organisational-group/LU/Faculty of Environment, Society and Design/DEM
pubs.publication-statusPublisheden
dc.publisher.placeChristchurchen


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