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Recycling 2018, 3(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/recycling3020017

Manufacturing a Better Planet: Challenges Arising from the Gap between the Best Intentions and Social Realities

1
Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies, History and Philosophy of Science, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 3010, Australia
2
Senior Lecturer, Science and Technology Studies, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, 2522, Australia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 January 2018 / Revised: 19 April 2018 / Accepted: 27 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
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Abstract

With rising concerns about the social and environmental impacts of industrial and manufacturing waste, scientists and engineers have sought solutions to the burdens of waste which do not simply involve burying, burning, dumping or diluting. Our purpose here is to sketch how social science perspectives can illuminate aspects of the waste problem which are not routinely grappled with within science and engineering perspectives. We argue that if one is concerned about the burdens of waste, it is crucial to understand the way political and cultural contexts shape what happens (or does not happen) in regards to reuse. We sketch some of the challenges facing green manufacturing; challenges that hinge on the gap between the best laid plans and social realities. Rather than imply green manufacturing is simply a post hoc move to hide the excesses of industrial capitalism in the green cloth of sustainability, we hope our discussion can assist those who hope to use green manufacturing as a pre-emptive move to build sustainability into industrial capitalism. We suggest that a socio-political conception of technology can bring greater depth to understandings of the industrial, political and consumer environments into which green manufacturing researchers hope to insert their efforts. View Full-Text
Keywords: green manufacturing; recycling; policy; social science green manufacturing; recycling; policy; social science
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Durant, D.; Lucas, A. Manufacturing a Better Planet: Challenges Arising from the Gap between the Best Intentions and Social Realities. Recycling 2018, 3, 17.

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