Adoption of Systemic and Socio-Technical Perspectives in Waste Management, WEEE and ELV Research
Journal article, 2019
A greater quantity and variety of materials are being produced worldwide to meet demand for consumer products, buildings and infrastructure. Additionally, highly diffused products such as cars and electronics have become materially complex and depend on numerous scarce metals. Consequently, managing the societal supply of a variety of materials and metals sustainably is becoming increasingly important. This includes the use of efficient and effective waste management. However, the current management of waste in general and of waste consumer products specifically, have been pointed out as requiring significant developments to become more advanced to cope
with the increasing material complexity. It has also been pointed out that research taking systems perspectives is crucial to improve waste management. Additionally, researching change processes and the co-evolution of social and technical factors (i.e., socio-technical change), has furthered the understanding of how ‘green’ industries develop in other empirical fields. Consequently, both systemic and socio-technical perspectives are likely relevant to waste management research. We used the Scopus database to search for 31 research approaches associated with such perspectives in journal articles writing about waste management in general, waste electrical and electronic
equipment (WEEE) or end-of-life vehicles (ELVs). We conclude that, although the majority of the examined research does not mention the considered approaches, some environmental system analysis approaches are frequently mentioned and show signs of growth in adoption. In contrast, socio-technical approaches are scarcely mentioned. Consequently, we argue that there are relevant scientific tools yet to be adopted in waste management, WEEE and ELV research.
end-of-life vehicle (ELV)
environmental system analysis (ESA)
waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)