Graduation Year

2016

Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-10-2016

Major Department or Program

Sociology - Environmental Studies

Advisor(s)

Alissa Cordner

Abstract

Today’s society generates massive quantities of solid waste. The programs that city, county, and state governments adopt to manage this waste reflect broader priorities. Recycling, specifically, has garnered support as an “environmentally friendly” solid waste management program. Are cities that recycle acting upon environmental concern or are there other factors involved? In this research, I investigate the environmental, economic, political, and social factors that lead municipal governments to implement and modify curbside recycling programs in Ellensburg and Walla Walla, Washington. I utilize qualitative data collected through interviews with local waste management officials and content analysis of Solid Waste Management Plans. In both cities, I find that political mandates led to the implementation of curbside recycling but economic priorities dominated all future decision-making processes. These results are evidence of the pervasiveness of capitalist values in society. Ultimately, I argue that solid waste management is driven by a capitalist agenda that reflects the prioritization of economic profit over environmental sustainability.

Page Count

98

Subject Headings

Litter (Trash) -- Waste, Waste (Economics) -- United States, Recycling (Waste) -- Environmental aspects, Recycling (Waste) -- Government policy -- Washington (State), Environmental ethics -- United States, Containers -- Recycling, Recycling (Waste) -- Law and legislation, Capitalism -- Environmental aspects, City and town life -- Environmental aspects, Ellensburg (Wash.), Walla Walla (Wash.), Environmental sustainability -- Capitalism, Capitalism -- Social aspects, Whitman College 2016 -- Dissertation collection -- Sociology-Environmental Studies

Permanent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10349/201608101265

Document Type

Whitman Community Accessible Thesis

Terms of Use

If you have questions about permitted uses of this content, please contact the ARMINDA administrator

Share

COinS
 

Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).