Exploring the industrial dynamics of waste management and recycling: A call for research and a proposed agenda
Waste Management
Leticia Antunes Nogueira
Academic article
Waste Management
Year published:

The waste management sector is undergoing profound transformations that challenge its structures and institutions. The function and position of waste management and recycling companies have been changing, and this process accelerates as the circular economy consolidates as part of the strategy to implement green shifts. This article argues that scholars, practitioners and policymakers interested in waste management could benefit from building bridges with the field of industrial dynamics. Industrial dynamics is concerned with the driving forces of economic transformation, with focus on not just outcomes but processes and structures. This type of research is crucial in face of transformations going on in the sector. Three crucial themes for cross-disciplinary investigation are: (i) industry evolution and institutions, (ii) business organization and management, and (iii) technological change, innovation and entrepreneurship. Waste management is a lively, complex and diverse sector, whose process of reinvention present the opportunity to research profound industrial transformations in real time. By systematically investigating the industrial dynamics of waste management, it becomes possible to uncover the structural changes underpinning the transformation of waste into resources, their driving forces and the directions to which they point, while mindful of the evolving discourses and the wider technological and institutional landscape.