University of Exeter , Lecturer in Human Geography
Dr Angeliki Balayannis is a geographer and social scientist at the University of Exeter. She specialises in the material politics of waste and pollution – examining the ways waste is managed and governed. Her research has investigated waste infrastructures and supply chains across Europe and Africa. Angeliki is currently leading the COVID-19 Waste Project. This UKRI-supported project is investigating how the UK waste sector is affected by, and responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. Angeliki and her team work in partnership with industry associations and local authorities to address hazards in waste management processes, and contribute to future preparedness plans.
Suggestions for talking points
Knowledge deficit model approaches to waste policy – which assume that publics lack information or ‘awareness’ – are often ineffective and do not create the large-scale lasting change necessary for addressing global environmental issues. How can we meaningfully involve consumers in co-designing solutions?
Behaviour-change interventions are often the go-to solution for addressing waste. However, they often overlook cultural, social, and economic barriers to change.
Perhaps most importantly, behaviour change initiatives often place responsibility onto consumers. This is not to say that consumers should not be involved in waste policy – indeed they should be more involved in the process – however the responsibility for (and burden of) change should not be distributed to individuals.