User Participation in Waste Management: The Case of Selective Waste Collection

Special Report: Regulation and Users of Networks
By Rémi Barbier

At the beginning of the 1990s, local authorities, industrials and the State started a large scale collective experiment aiming at a new waste management model. This model focuses on the valorisation of household packaging waste and it is based on user’s participation. Within ten years, packaging waste separate collection has been integrated in behaviors on a long term basis. Due to a steadfast and systematic effort of assessment, the user has become a relatively foreseeable and controlable variable. And this, through a few ratios, some reasonable requirements and a relatively simple doctrine of project management. The whole process could be assimilated to a “colonization of behaviors” for the benefit of the economic system. Nevertheless, even if the initiatives has been taken most of the time by local councillors, some kind of negociation with users has been organized at different levels. Furthermore, because of its implications in terms of opportunities of dialogue with users and the fact that the doctrine of project management includes an obligation of accountability, this process contains in itself the fragile but real principle of its democratization.

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