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Abstract: Waste reveals a great deal about values and how we live, the economy that produces it, and our notions of development. An economy driven by the compulsion to make and consume have formed a world in which the lifetime of “durable” products tends to be shortened to that of “consumables,” while nonrenewable natural resource stocks are consumed like renewable production flows. This paper argues that waste is permeable to different uses and management methods, based on the existence of potential alternatives. One is more closely tied to corporate interests and may encourage the waste-producing model, whereas others are closer to the environmental values and to a sustainable approach. The choice stems from the emphasis placed on economic development models, certain values and the strategic priorities of scientific research. Facing up to the problem effectively will also depend on coordinated political approaches and patterns of development which achieve harmonious combinations of responsible resource use, sustainable production, consumption and development, and the involvement of citizen-consumers.

There is no paper for this media entry. This was a contribution to a scientific session at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014, which doesn’t exist in written format or is not published under open access.