Abstract for: Waste minimisation program theory for Aotearoa New Zealand: system insights from a realist review

Waste is a wicked problem and demands comprehensive research approach to understand both the problem and identify pathways to effective waste minimisation for Aotearoa New Zealand. A realist review of waste intervention in Aotearoa was undertaken to understand the mechanism of change for waste minimisation in the form of program theory propositions. This paper applied qualitative system dynamics approach to develop a causal loop diagram that illustrated how changes might results over time when the actions contained in the program theory propositions for waste minimisation interact with the waste system. Four sub-systems within the CLD were identified to make sense of the complexity and generate system insights. The four sub-systems [Critical consciousness and championing (CCC), waste management (WM), capitalism influences (CI) and socio-economic (SE)] collectively validated the programme theory as effective levers for systemic shift towards waste minimisation in the context of Aotearoa. The leverage points i.e. raising mass critical awareness, re-designing the waste system, and transforming the economy towards sustainability, indicated the need for long-term thinking, courageous leadership, and adaptive strategies.