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Australian SMEs: Waste Sent to Landfill

By Janice Redmond, Elizabeth A. Walker, Craig M. Parker and Mike SimpsonJanice Redmond, Elizabeth A. Walker, Craig M. Parker and Mike Simpson


Landfill waste has a negative impact on the environment and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are believed to be significant contributors. There is little government or scholarly research, however, quantifying the collective volume of waste SMEs send to landfill. The limited studies instead measure total volumes (landfill and recycling combined) and/or do not distinguish between specific waste streams (e.g. wood) and subcategories (e.g. dust). This paper contributes to knowledge by reconceptualising SME waste into subcategories and by measuring landfill volumes. It presents findings from 404 Australian SMEs which found that, in descending order, cardboard, paper, plastic wrap, wood dust and particleboard were the subcategories these SMEs sent to landfill in the greatest volumes. It also argues that this reconceptualisation and associated data collection protocols have the potential to enable scholars and policymakers to determine the waste subcategories to which SMEs contribute most, formulate targeted interventions and research/evaluat

Topics: KEY WORDS Small firms, environmental impact, waste management, survey data protocol, recycling, landfill
Year: 2014
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