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Through waste prevention towards corporate sustainability: analysis of the concept of waste and a review of attitudes towards waste prevention


  • Eva Pongrácz

    (University of Oulu, Thule Institute, Centre of Northern Environmental Technology and Department of Process and Environmental Engineering, Oulu, Finland)


The three types of capital relevant within the concept of corporate sustainability, economic, natural and social, are analysed from the point of view of the object-oriented concept of waste. Waste is suggested as a measure of inefficiency, implying that waste avoidance would further sustainable conduct. Most waste definitions recognize waste at the point of its generation. Similarly, the failure to reach economic and social sustainability is recognized. However, to prevent 'waste', we need to act before the activity that gives rise to the failure ever happens. This calls for the analysis of the reasons for waste creation. Further, the paper reports on a series of surveys mapping practices and attitudes towards industrial waste prevention, performed in Finland, the United Kingdom and Czech Republic. Apart from technologies, environmental legislation and environmental management systems, human attitudes and environmental awareness are outlined as the most important drivers of waste prevention. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Eva Pongrácz, 2009. "Through waste prevention towards corporate sustainability: analysis of the concept of waste and a review of attitudes towards waste prevention," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 92-101.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:17:y:2009:i:2:p:92-101
    DOI: 10.1002/sd.402

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    Cited by:

    1. Pauline Deutz & Gareth Neighbour & Michael McGuire, 2010. "Integrating sustainable waste management into product design: sustainability as a functional requirement," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(4), pages 229-239.

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