• The community waste sector and waste services in the UK: current state and future prospects

      Sharp, Liz; Luckin, D. (2006)
      Theory predicts that the voluntary or community sector will contribute a range of services that are not delivered by the state or private sectors. This paper examines the changing contributions of the community waste sector in the UK to reflect upon these claims. A rosy picture of the community waste sector is presented from research on the sector in 2002, with a growing number of organisations carrying out a range of services, drawing on multiple and diverse sources of funding. More recent evidence, and information drawn from outside the sector, however, suggests that regulation, competition, and changes to funding regimes are putting the sector under considerable pressure, such that it is likely to change, and that some parts of it will contract. In terms of the claims from theory, the paper finds evidence that the community sector can and has been innovative in the services it provides and the way that it provides them, though similar innovations may emerge from the private and public sectors. The sparse evidence on participation and recycling rates in kerbside and civic amenity sites are equivocal on whether the sector provides enhanced communication as theory would predict. Overall, the paper highlights the difficulty in achieving direct comparisons between the waste sectors without specific focused research for this purpose. It concludes that the challenge for European, national and local government is to influence the necessarily constructed waste markets in a way which will enhance rather than discourage service providers to innovate in the waste material collected, and to communicate effectively with the public whom they serve. Such policies promise to encourage the effective delivery of sustainable waste services from all three - public, private and community - sectors.
    • Exploring the community waste sector: Are sustainable development and social capital useful concepts for project-level research?

      Luckin, D.; Sharp, Liz (2005)
      The concept of sustainable development implies that social, economic and environmental objectives should be delivered together, and that they can be achieved through enhanced community participation. The concept of social capital indicates how these objectives interrelate, implying that community involvement enhances trust and reciprocity, thus promoting better governance and greater prosperity. This paper draws on a survey of Community Waste Projects to explore how these concepts can inform investigations of community projects. It argues that the concepts provide useful guides to research and debate, but highlights the resource requirements of empirically confirming the claims of the social capital perspective.