The Danes Waste Consumption: An Investigation of the Danes Barriers for Sorting Waste And the Co-responsibility of Retail Companies

Sofie Amalie Friis & Anne Sofie Bergmann

Student thesis: Master thesis


Background: With a continuous increase of global consumption comes an increasing amount of waste, which leaves an enormous impact on the climate and the environment. The world produce more than 3,5 million ton waste daily, and with limited natural resources, recycling of the resources is crucial. The United Nations calls on action and all European countries are to increase the amount of recycled household waste. Denmark in particular are to recycle 50% in 2022, which is a percentage increase of 28% since 2013. Therefore all stakeholders must take action if the goal is to be reached. Theory: Based on insights from traditional as well as sustainable consumer behaviour combined with theory on shared value between businesses and society, and theory on psychological and sociological behavior barriers, this thesis aim to explain the gap between individual’s behavior as consumers and as citizens in a waste sorting practice, and how retail businesses can nudge this practice in a sustainable and circular direction. Thus, the research question aims to outline the barriers on Danes waste sorting practice and how retail businesses can take responsibility in changing this in a sustainable direction. Method: The analysis is based on three independent focus group interviews and second hand empiri from a selection of retail business groups operating in Denmark. Findings: The study found that three main categories of barriers concerning waste sorting is current. These are related to respectively a waste sorting practice and a shopping practice, whereas retail businesses can take responsibility for most barriers. By adopting different changes concerning the retail businesses an increased shared value creation with society is achievable. Further, the study found, that by introducing an eco label for waste retail businesses can nudge consumers to take action on waste recycling. Additionally, by merging the shopping practice with the waste sorting practice a new form of consumption is stated. This type of consumption is referred to as waste consumption, and suggests that with a consumption of goods a consumption of waste is inevitable, why a responsible consumer engagement is needed in order for retail businesses to reach a circular production.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages167
SupervisorsAnne Vestergaard