Waste managment in the UK


Traditionally, when products are no longer of use, we tend to recycle them or dispose of them
as garbage. This traditional approach, often labeled as ?cradle-to-grave?, views waste as an
Inevitable by-product of production and consumption. However, waste ?costs? us all, through
higher prices for raw materials, money spent on diversion and disposal, the environmental
impact of disposing of waste, the health costs associated with hazardous materials, and the
value lost when products are left to waste in disposal sites. This pathological attitudes were particular cultural responses to a series of basic organizational issues that any organizational or society at large must face. Hence, in this paper I shall develop an analysis of the change programme by the UK on household waste management. In doing so I shall be using organizational structure, learning and culture change as concepts.

The main body
A good point to begin with is to identify the main stakeholders in the household waste management or in other words, who is involved. A key concept to assess us on this analysis is organizational structure. Structure refers to those parts of organizational life that are relatively fixed and that provide the background against which and within which organizational life gets played out. Now, let?s see the household waste management structure.

Figure 1.1 UK Household Waste Management Structure.

Even in an organization that has put considerable effort into developing formal goals, there will always be a vast web of other, much less visible goals. However, Household Waste Management official goal is ?best practicable environmental option? (the BPEO). That is the option which provides the most benefit or least damage to the environment as whole, at an acceptable cost in long and short term. Thus, the strategy for sustainable waste management has three objectives:

? To minimize the amount of waste that is produced.
? To make best use of the waste that is produced.
? To minimize any immediate and future risk of pollution from waste management practices.

Objectives can often be arranged in a rough hierarchical order. For example, an overall objective of minimizing the amount of waste that is produced can be used to drive other environmentally friendly and harmful strategic objectives, which in turn can lead to more specific organizational and departmental goals. Therefore, the different waste management options are considered as a hierarchy:

1. Waste reduction as economically feasible.
2. Re-use of objects for example, re-treading tyres or refilling of bottles.
3. Materials recycling composting for example, recovery of energy from waste.
4. Waste disposal.

However, accourding to Perrow (1961) that official operative goals can easily become ?ends in themselves?. This shift of attention away from the overall purpose towards the means of achieving it is called ?goal displacement?. Hence, waste disposal comes at the bottom of the hierarchy and includes final disposal to landfill and incineration of waste where no recovery of energy takes place. That is exactly the case with the UK Household Waste Management, with its 85% current disposal; the UK is the most landfill disposal amongst industrial nations. However, some countries are beginning to set limits on the amount of biodegradable waste going landfill such as Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

It is clear from the above discussions that the hierarchical structure is found very widely as a structuring principle in the UK household waste management. With the UK government idea of rational analysis and its assumption that they understand the waste situation which they are analyzing. But is that realistic? While some organizations have been successful in institutionalizing systems that review and challenge basic norms, policies and operating procedures in relation to changes occurring in their environment-e.g. by encouraging ongoing debate and innovation many fail to do so. This failure is especially true of bureaucratic organizations, since their fundamental organizing principles often operate in a way that actually obstructs the learning process. These obstructions are:

? Whole point of bureaucratic approaches to organization is to break the overall task down into small department.
? Employees have an incentive to protect themselves.
? Gap between what people say and what they do.

These examples of how organizations often inhibit double-loop learning also indicate how it can be facilitated. In essence, a new philosophy of management is required, to root the process of organizing in a process of open-ended inquiry. It is difficult to address the needs of waste management wholly within the ?artificial boundaries? of the local authorities: for example the geological conditions which favour landfilling in areas of low permeability strata. Thus, the Government is favouring a move to