Abstract for: Evidence building for waste prevention: understanding the causal influences that result in waste

Waste prevention can be viewed as a set of practices that reduce the amount of waste generated in the economy; they can be undertaken during the design, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal phases of the product lifecycle. A research project funded by the UKs Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) applied systems methodologies to support development of new waste prevention policy in England. The project developed a system dynamics model designed to capture existing knowledge on the causal influences that lead to waste generation. The model was developed firstly through several group model building workshops with key experts and stakeholders which produced a set of basic causal loop diagrams, and then through the development of a comprehensive system dynamics model by an expert modelling team. The key structure in the model is a materials flow map of materials and products through the economy; the material flows are driven by the dynamics in seven sub-models. Preliminary results from the project are presented in this paper. Policy interventions referred to in this paper are solely for the purposes of explaining the modelling approach and the views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Defra.