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The dirty man of Europe? Rubbish, recycling and consumption work in England

Wheeler, Kathryn (2013) The dirty man of Europe? Rubbish, recycling and consumption work in England. Working Paper. Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI) Working Paper 2013-01, University of Essex, Colchester, UK.

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Abstract

England has been described as 'the dirty man of Europe'. However, the country's household recycling rate has been steadily increasing in the last decade, achieving a recycling rate of 42 per cent in 2011/12 compared to just 12 per cent in 2001/2 (DEFRA, 2012). This paper explores the combination of factors that have led to the growth of interest and participation in recycling activities by households, businesses, governments and the third sector. It charts the development of waste management policy and practice in England in order highlight how and why recycling has become incorporated into consumer?s everyday household routines. This paper has been developed as part of an ERC-funded project, 'Consumption Work and Societal Divisions of Labour', whose key aim is to demonstrate the role that consumers play in the labour process, using comparative methods. In the case of recycling, by sorting their waste, consumers play an integral role in the division of labour within waste management in England and their role differs substantially to the role of consumers in Sweden (the other country in which recycling consumption work has been explored, see Wheeler, 2013). This paper illustrates how the consumer is encouraged to perform this work, drawing attention to what the work actually comprises and the implications of its successful accomplishment for the labour processes that follow.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Consumption Work; Division of labour; England; Environmental Policy; Moral Economy; Recycling.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2013 15:22
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2019 12:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/7535

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