For my white paper I plan on examining the policy area of waste management. I am very interested in this topic because it is something that involves everyone on Earth (both directly and indirectly) and is an industry that directly affects the fields of business, politics, and society simultaneously.
My interest in this topic has risen from my long-time interest in recycling and sustainability. I have always considered myself an environmentally-concious person and think that sustainability is something that will be crucial in the future of business. I also have taken multiple classes from high school to college on environmental science to give me further knowledge of the topic. My current view on the topic of waste management is that it is an essential field for society to operate, but I wonder what the duty of the field is. Is it to keep the environment clean, to make money, or to maximize utility of materials? In addition I want to study how each stakeholder (business, government, and society) is responsible in the process of waste production/management.
The resources that I found for the government/political section were the United Nations’ policy on waste management, the EPA’s policy on municipal solid waste, and Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage by Heather Rogers. The United Nations document is interesting because it discusses exactly what the organization defines as “solid waste” as well as going into detail about the expectations and standards set for UN members. I also thought that this document was beneficial because it gets into the political aspect of the waste management industry for multiple countries, not just one. The EPA site includes a full report on the generation, recycling, and disposal of municipal solid waste as well as clearly explanations on the types of waste and policies that the EPA put’s into place. Gone Tomorrow has a chapter focused on the “Politics of Recycling” which describes government policies on waste regulation and recycling dating back to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
These resources are very reliable because the come directly from the EPA and the United Nations, two extremely well-known and credible organizations. I think that these sources are especially valuable because they are 3rd party entities with a focus on environmental protection, meaning that they are most likely to be unbiased and honest in order to spread factual information about waste production and management. I believe that Gone Tomorrow is reliable as well because Heather Rogers’ credibility as a writer, journalist, and filmmaker who made the documentary that this book is directly based upon.