Aims and objectives

This 18-month project investigates how the waste sector is affected by, and responding to COVID-19. Working in partnership with local authorities and industry associations, it aims to examine and address hazards related to waste management through three overlapping approaches:

  • the project will generate urgent data on changing waste management processes, including collections, disposal, and administration;
  • it will design a Pandemic Toolkit with workers to guide action and decision making;
  • the project will produce an Industry Report to support an evidence-based pandemic response and build future preparedness.

Research methods

The project will examine the processes and practices of the waste sector as it continues to respond to this pandemic. We employ social research methods, including interviews, participant-observation, policy analysis, and mapping workshops. This involves interviewing stakeholders, participating in industry training, and mapping this vast complex and fragmented sector. We will be engaging with a range of people who work in the sector, including managers, collections workers, disposal workers, administrators, and policy makers.     

Who funds this research?

The COVID-19 Waste Project – ‘Waste management during the COVID-19 outbreak’ – is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council through the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Ideas to Address COVID-19. This fund supports projects addressing the health, social, economic, cultural, and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Interested in participating?

If you work in any part of the sector and would like to have a conversation about this research, please get in touch with Dr Angeliki Balayannis, the Principle Investigator a.a.balayannis@exeter.ac.uk (for more information on the Investigators see the research team page).