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

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

By: Roman Koster (author), Raymond G. Stokes (author), Stephen C. Sambrook (author)Hardback

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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.

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About Author

Raymond G. Stokes is Professor of Business History at the University of Glasgow and Director of the Centre for Business History in Scotland. Roman Koster is Assistant Professor of Economic and Social History at Bundeswehr University, Munich. Stephen C. Sambrook is Research Associate at the Centre for Business History in Scotland at the University of Glasgow.


Introduction; Part I. Cleansing Services, 1945 to the 1960s: From Societies of Want to Societies of Purity: 1. Establishing (and re-establishing) an industry: waste services in the UK and Germany from the late nineteenth century to the 1950s; 2. Rationalization measures; 3. 'Salvage' and the industry; Part II. Grappling with Crisis: From the 1960s to 1980: 4. The waste flood; 5. Politicizing waste: national and regional legislation and political activism; 6. Coping with the crisis; Part III. Re-conceptualizing Waste and Conceptualizing Waste Management, 1980 to the Present: 7. Framing waste: measurement, regulation, and legislation in the 1980s; 8. The waste management industry since 1990.

Product Details

  • publication date: 31/08/2013
  • ISBN13: 9781107027213
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 343
  • ID: 9781107027213
  • weight: 630
  • ISBN10: 1107027217

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