A sustainable approach to the governance of waste management

Baker, Francine (2019) A sustainable approach to the governance of waste management. In: Waste Management and the Environment IX. WIT Press, pp. 65-74. ISBN 978-1-78466-297-4

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.2495/wm180071


The European Union’s revised Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC gives priority to waste prevention in its hierarchy of waste management measures. This paper argues that, to this end, the importance of both costing and sustaining the natural resources used to demolish and/or produce any kind of infrastructure concerning the architectural, engineering and construction industries, should be factored into the notion of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), as part of a government’s waste management strategy. In other words, this should be a preliminary aspect of the implementation of a waste management strategy. However, ideally, to fully implement a preventative waste management strategy, the range of projects for which EIA’s are required should not be restricted, but should be extended to any building site. This paper further suggests that EIA’s should be tailored to ensure the sustainability of our natural, used and renewable resources as far as possible. This would assist furthering the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. However to be effective this approach requires the incorporation of a mandatory protocol involving the use of a process similar to Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) into all associated contracts, standard or bespoke. The scope of this paper will therefore outline what NCA is, and then why it is relevant, and then consider how it may be used to contribute to a more sustainable EIA for the prevention of waste. It will then briefly consider the role of industry and government before concluding that its implementation should assist the reduction of overall waste of environmental and related resources arising from the said industries.

This paper has used a qualitative method based on grounded theory. It involves an exploratory method initially using an inductive approach to generate data, and from this collection of data, key questions are generated to deduce results. The analysis examines, compares and contrasts relevant literature concerning what is NCA as well as how it may be implemented. Research conducted by academics from a range of disciplines, environmental, business, engineering and construction academics, organisations and case studies has been drawn on to consider the transferability of NCA methods to the management of sustainable infrastructure.

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