Caring for the community: An exploratory comparison of waste reduction behaviour by British and Brazilian consumers

Caroline Bekin, Marylyn Carrigan, Isabelle Szmigin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The symbolic and social roles of waste are explored through a small sample of UK and Brazilian consumers from urban and rural communities. These findings are relevant in highlighting the importance of considering socio-cultural differences in waste policies. Design/methodology/approach – Following an ontologically realist and epistemologically interpretive perspective on waste a series of semi-structured interviews was conducted in English and Portuguese. Findings – While Brazilian interviewees view waste as opportunity, their discourses reproduce the inequalities among and between their communities. UK participants view waste as burdensome, but demonstrate more awareness of their rights as citizens within their communities. Research limitations/implications – The study is exploratory and future work should address a broader range of respondents within communities across different cultures, demographic and socio-economic circumstances. Practical implications – Ideas generated from the study have both specific and general relevance beyond the Brazilian and UK communities. Marketing has the capacity to help advance the establishment of more effective environmentally friendly forms of consumption and disposal. Originality/value – The paper presents a fresh perspective on developing and developed country community waste reduction behaviours through the examination of waste meanings for individual consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-233
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number5/6
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2007


  • Communities
  • Consumption
  • Recycling
  • Waste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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