Environmental Concern in Waste Economy: A Case Study of Waste Policy in Finnish Lapland

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


In this article, we follow the tracks of waste closure as it travels from national policy to mundane waste management practices.

During the last 20 years, the Finnish waste legislation has constantly been modified in order to meet the demands of the developing waste policy of the European Union. The completely renewed waste legislation came into operation at the beginning of 2016. The new waste policy is based on the idea of “circular economy” in which waste is understood as by-products waiting to be economically utilised. This has led to a paradoxical situation in which waste has turned from something that there is too much into something that there is not enough. Waste, therefore, has turned into a resource.
In this article, we ask what happens to the environmental concern when it is wrapped inside the economic logics of waste management. We analyse the policy-making process and the implementation of waste policy on three scales: in the national legislative drafting process, in the regional waste management in Lapland, and the consumers’ positioning in relation to waste and the objectives of waste governance. Our data consists of documents of the national legislative drafting process related to waste legislation, and newspaper articles and letters to the editor discussing the regional waste management in Finnish Lapland.
Based on the analysis, we suggest that Waste Economy has offered a sufficiently functioning closure which has succeeded in bringing together even controversial understandings and objectives concerning waste governance. However, there are still certain tensions and controversies that prevent various actors from fully endorsing it. Some of the tensions arise because economical solutions tend to smother the original environmental goals.
Translated title of the contributionYmpäristöhuoli jätetaloudessa: Tapaustutkimus jätepolitiikasta Suomen Lapissa
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Waste from the Social Sciences and Humanities
Subtitle of host publication Opening the Bin
EditorsRichard Ek, Nils Johansson
Place of PublicationNewcastle upon Tyne
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
ISBN (Print)978-1-5275-4674-5
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2020
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Field of science

  • Social and economic geography
  • Sociology

Citation for this output