The Business of Waste: Great Britain and Germany, 1945 to the Present

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The advent of consumer societies in the United Kingdom and West Germany after 1945 led to the mass 'production' of garbage. This book compares the social, cultural and economic fallout of the growing volume and changing composition of waste in the two countries from 1945 to the present through sustained attention to changes in the business of handling household waste. Though the UK and Germany are similar in population density, degrees of urbanisation, and standardisation, the two countries took profoundly different paths from low-waste to throwaway societies, and more recently, towards the goal of 'zero-waste'. The authors explore evolving balances between public and private provision in waste services; the transformation of public cleansing into waste management; the role of government legislation and regulation; emerging conceptualisations of recycling and resource recovery; and the gradual shift of the industry's regulatory and business context from local to national and then to international.