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Culture, Consumption and Waste Management

Culture, Consumption and Waste Management

Organized at 3 PM GMT on 2nd September, 2015




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Ranjith Annepu moderated the panel and conducted the global waste survey to choose topics for the 2015 Global Dialogue on Waste

Madhumitha Rajendran
Madhumitha Rajendran performed background research for the panel


Tejaswini Pagadala has put together a quick summary of the panel and some of her favourite quotes from the panelists.


It’s not about show me the money. It should be about how to efficiently manage resources and reduce waste.

  • We need to strike a balance between how we consume and how we eliminate waste.
  • We need to look at “How do we redesign products so that the packaging won’t go to landfills?”
  • At Trash on Your Back, we’re working on creating awareness on how we can become a zero-waste planet.

Our next generation understands the importance of waste management very well.

  • Behavioural change: There are companies and people who are shifting from waste management to material management.
  • The millenials are aware of waste management practices. That creates a social movement because if there are youngsters who want to drink beer for the weekend, they’d know to buy beer cans rather than beer bottles. This makes them understand their consumption patterns.

Our communities have to come together to create a zero-waste world.

  • Experiences Vs. Service: Lifestyles are changing. So, this will see an increasing trend.
  • Sharing economy: What we are seeing around the world is to make the millenials understand how important sustainability is. Technology, innovation and everything we have to share. Shared economy encourages sustainability but we need to put this together with money-less society.

Waste isn’t waste anymore. It’s an opportunity.

  • How are emerging economies going to deal with waste? We’re seeing waste haulers. Transforming from waste firm to material management firms is the current trend.
  • But, we need to introduce products that are bio-degradable, compostable and 100% recyclable. For this, we need to innovate around the existing processes around waste.


The want Vs. need is the approach to waste management.

  • Two approaches to waste management: 1) Social and cultural approach and 2) Political approach. These define how we consume and produce waste.
  • Social & cultural approach is a mega trend that creates social pressure to consume in a way the society looks at it.
  • Political approach questions the approach whether we should recycle or not, dispose products? This is the interaction between the mega trends and the political decisions that shape the way we consume natural resources and produce waste.

Our consumption and waste management is shaped by individual decisions. The aggregate of these decisions is what produces or generates waste.

  • In Lavazza, the famous Italian coffee brand, they first had cups which weren’t recyclable. Now, they’ve come up with cups that are recyclable.
  • Behavioural change: People in the sector should look for creating a social culture where we eat efficiently and reduce waste.
  • Experience Vs. Service: It’s not only about experience and now, it’s about service. It should be support through policy-making.

Zero waste is not the end. But, it is a way, a process… to reduce waste on the planet.

  • Sharing economy: You commit to certain time and share it with others. The Europe is creating shared communities like this.
  • The European Commission will soon publish the new legislative package on waste. This legislation includes new economic models like shared economy, etc.
  • How are emerging economies going to deal with waste? It is challenging. I hope they don’t copy the wrong models in the developed world.

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