Transitions in waste treatment as a driver for product life extension

Erik Hagelskjær Lauridsen, Michael Søgaard Jørgensen

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


Increasing amounts of energy are used for provision of resources. Recycling, refurbishment and reuse practices are recurring elements in visions of the future low carbon and resource efficient society. Visions of improved waste management practices are, however, confronted with the inherent tensions between current incineration practices and options for waste prevention, sorting at source
and recycling.
Denmark has for the past 30 years developed and continuously improved waste incineration technology, which combined with use of the energy for district heating, has become an energy efficient waste treatment process. Previously improved treatment of waste was perceived as closely linked to waste incineration technology and widely shielded from the contextualisation of demands for increased reuse, recycling and improved resource efficiency. This regime seems now gradually to
become somewhat destabilised due to increased EU demands for waste recycling, and new opportunities for pursuing strategies of increased product lifetime appear. Swapping and local repair initiatives can be seen as examples of such opportunities. These initiatives link nicely to e.g. policy visions of circular economy that emphasise prolonged product life and stresses the importance of avoiding down cycling of products and material streams. The destabilisation of the old incineration regime thus opens up for new opportunities with both new policies and potentially new social practices.
This paper describes a number of the above-mentioned refurbishment and reuse initiatives and analyses how they engage with the dominant waste treatment regimes. We investigate how these initiatives may take advantage of the ambiguities and tensions, which appear in the break-up of the old regime. In doing this we conceptualise refurbishment and swap initiatives as mediators that generate transformative change by displacing the boundaries and interdependencies within and
among the established socio-material order of waste management.
Translated title of the contributionProduktlivsforlængelse som resultat af omstilling af affaldshåndtering
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProduct Lifetimes And The Environment : Conference Proceedings
EditorsTim Cooper, Naomi Braithwaite, Mariale Moreno, Giuseppe Salva
Number of pages7
Place of PublicationNottingham Trent University CADBE
PublisherNottingham Trent University
Publication date15 Jun 2015
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9576009-9-7
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2015
EventPlate Conference - Nottingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Jun 201519 Jun 2015


ConferencePlate Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom

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