Angers, 15. November 2018
Three questions to Gabriel Weber, associate professor at ESSCA (Bordeaux)
Gabriel, in your recent article you examine how to reduce the amounts of waste. What was your motivation to analyse waste management?
The personal motivation was to understand why some cities or villages have advanced waste management system, while others have not. Our findings suggest that environment justice organisations, but also other organisations and social enterprises, no matter how small and local they are, have an impact and can effectively contribute to reduce waste.
How did you come up with the idea to write an academic paper about waste management?
During my Post Doc, I collected data in all municipalities in Spain, which had implemented unit pricing in waste management at that time (i.e. a household pays as a function of the generated waste). However, I did not come up with the idea straight away. The idea developed with collecting data, writing first drafts, sending first versions of the paper for revision to journals. Finally, together with my co-authors we found that environmental justice organizations were fighting for waste degrowth in these municipalities. We saw that this would be a good narrative for our paper.
What message is your paper sending out?The paper is sending the message that a degrowth society (in which we may have less economic performance in GDP terms but more happiness and better social relations) is possible. We have shown this at the case of sustainability in waste management. Social cohesion and collective action of environmental justice organisations have successfully promoted waste degrowth at the local level. Thus, the message is that residents should form associations, social enterprises and other organisations focused on sustainability. Even if they start small and at a local level, they will have an impact leading to a better management of waste and other environmentally sensitive fields in their own municipalities and thereby ultimately enhance the transition towards more sustainable societies.
Weber, G.; Cabras, I.; Puig-Ventosa, I.; Calaf-Forn M.; D’Alisa (2019): Promoting Waste Degrowth and Environmental Justice at a Local Level: The Case of Unit-Pricing Schemes in Spain, Ecological Economics 156 (2019) 306 – 317. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.09.024