England’s municipal waste regime: challenges and prospects

Gregoson, Nicky and Forman, Peter (2021) England’s municipal waste regime: challenges and prospects. Geographical Journal. ISSN 0016-7398 (In Press)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/geoj.12386


This paper provides a synthetic account of England’s municipal waste regime at the end of the 2010s. In technical-material terms, the regime, previously heavily dependent upon landfill, is now characterised by energy-from-waste and recycling and/or composting in fairly equal measure. This infrastructural transformation, enacted over some 20 years, has been underpinned by the financialisation and marketisation of England’s municipal waste. Residual waste has been constituted as a financial asset whilst both residual waste and materials collected for recycling are the basis for further commodity production. The corporate landscape is dominated by large, European-based transnationals. As well as documenting the regime and its emergence, the paper highlights, and accounts for, the multiple challenges it now faces – chiefly, the technical failure of residual waste solutions which necessitate a continued reliance on landfill for some councils, the collapse of the export markets on which England’s resource recovery has depended, and a radically changed policy landscape that seeks to move England towards a more circular economy. We suggest that local authorities’ waste infrastructure, procured in response to a linear economy, threatens and is threatened by these new policy directions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: Durham University (Department of Geography Impact Fund).
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2021 11:35
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 10:02
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/45814

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