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Porträtt Anna-Lisa Linden. Foto.

Anna-Lisa Linden

Professor emerita

Porträtt Anna-Lisa Linden. Foto.

Disposal Behaviour and Local Support Systems


  • Anna-Lisa Lindén

Summary, in English

Disposal behaviour represent the last phase in the consumption cycle. From an environmental point of view it is extremely important to know the factors behind individual behaviour in waste handling. There are several aspects of interest, for example willingness of waste separation and re-use of products. The aim of this article is to analyse the importance of environmental concern, disposal behaviour and external factors of support systems in implementing and running waste management systems.

The amount of refuse from households has steadily increased in Sweden. The average amount of waste was 430 kg/person and year in the year 1998.The total amount of refuse from households was 3,8 million tonnes, which represented 3% more than the year before. The household sectors in countries within the European Union are estimated to increase their contribution to climate impacts from waste by 8-18%. However, at the same time as the amount of refuse increases in Sweden, the proportion of sorted and recycled material is increasing and reached 26,5% in 1998. In other European countries, however, the proportion of sorted and recycled waste is extremely high in Austria, The Netherlands and Germany ranging 35-45% (Environmental Signals, 2001). The most common ways to treat unsorted refuse from households are incineration or deposition in most countries.

There are differences in disposal behaviour between households living in urban and rural areas. Those living in rural areas have more chances for local recycling of their refuse. Thus it is more common among the rural population to have their own compost, or to use paper and packages in local incineration. From more extended possibilities of recycling follows a smaller amount of refuse left over to waste management organisations in rural areas than in urban areas. Differences in the amount of refuse per person can also be noticed within urban areas. In multi-occupancy blocs in Swedish cities live large proportions of small households either belonging to young or to old age groups. In suburban and outer skirts of cities there is a large proportion of families with children. This is especially valid for families living in houses but to some extent also for families living in multi-occupancy blocs. The amount of refuse delivered, also have relations to the size of the family and its level of consumption.

The empirical material in this study stems from a survey and statistics representing an inner city area situated very close to the old town of Stockholm. The amount of refuse was 402 kg/person in 1999. The total amount of refuse has increased during the last years. From 1990 until 1999 the amount of sorted refuse have increased from 62 kg/person to 93 kg/person. Still there remains a substantial amount of refuse left over unsorted. The area in the study is densely populated, 13.300 inhabitants/km2. The population in the area, almost 100.000 persons (1999), represent 13% of the population in Stockholm. The area was earlier known as a working class area, but by gentrification processes the area is continually shifting to a middle-class area. The households in the area almost exclusively live in flats in multi-occupancy blocs, either rented or owned flats organised by co-operative organisations.


  • Sociologi








  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • sociologi
  • EU directives
  • sociology
  • national directives
  • policy instruments
  • waste
  • disposal behaviour

Conference name

NSF-Nordic Sociological Conference

Conference date

2002-08-07 - 2002-08-12

Conference place

Reykjavik, Iceland




  • Sustainability and Development Studies