Hidden mountain: The social avoidance of waste

  • de Coverly E
  • McDonagh P
  • O'Malley L
 et al. 
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This article considers the neglected area of disposition, the nature of our relationship with waste. Marketing tactics are complicit in a throwaway culture, so how can we better theorize our relationship to waste? The authors submit that to maintain control, we are encouraged to keep waste in its place-out of sight and out of mind. This is achieved through systemic smoothing mechanisms such as our socialization against waste, the role of trash cans, and the work of garbage collectors. By exposing the detritus of consumption, the "waste mountain," a macromarketing analysis helps us confront the systemic avoidance of waste. As such, this constitutes an initial contribution to marketing as social engagement and also to future policy development. We connect the rendering invisible or hidden aspect of waste to what Bauman has termed the economics of deception prevalent within consumer society.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Consumption
  • Disposition
  • Rubbish
  • Systemic mechanisms
  • Waste

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  • Pierre McDonaghUniversity of Bath Faculty of Management

  • Edd de Coverly

  • Lisa O'Malley

  • Maurice Patterson

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