Circular Economy as Infrastructural Change: Waste Citizenship in the Bin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


In this chapter, we examine waste infrastructural change brought about by circular economy (CE). Our particular interest lies in one of the intersections within waste infrastructure—the bin—and, more specifically, its agentive role in producing citizenship in the context of CE. The work presented here draws from our previous research conducted within the Waste Society: living with material overflows project in which we have addressed the regional realization of waste governance and waste policy in the context of Finnish Lapland as part of the larger framework of the EU’s circular economy policy. We have found that the citizen plays a key role as part of the modern waste infrastructure. Our understanding of the function of the bin is based on the theory of mundane governance (Woolgar & Neyland 2013). The methodological tool that guides our examination is the notion of the three-fold agency of the bin put forward by Metcalfe et al. (2012). Our research highlights challenges and complexities involved in infrastructural change and the significance of the role of the citizen in achieving such change. In the context of waste infrastructure in CE, the citizen’s role cannot be reduced to that of a mere user of the system, but, rather, the citizen’s agency should be seen as essential to waste infrastructure and its functioning. As a result, a new kind of citizenship emerges alongside citizenship of a nation state—here referred to as waste citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInfrastructural being
Subtitle of host publicationRethinking dwelling in a naturecultural world
EditorsJarno Valkonen, Veera Kinnunen, Heikki Huilaja, Teemu Loikkanen
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-15827-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-15826-1, 978-3-031-15829-2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2022
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Field of science

  • Social and economic geography


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