Skills in the Green Economy: Recycling Promises in the UK E‐Waste Management Sector

15 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2016

See all articles by Ödül Bozkurt

Ödül Bozkurt

University of Sussex - School of Business, Management and Economics

Alison Stowell

Lancaster University - Management School

Date Written: July 2016

Abstract

In advanced economies the ‘greening’ of the economy is widely seen as promising extensive job creation and upskilling, alongside its other benefits. In popular and policy rhetoric, the growing importance of ‘green skills’ is asserted frequently. This study critically examines these claims within the context of the electronic waste management sector in the United Kingdom. Drawing on the cases of a non‐profit organisation and a small private enterprise in North West England, we observe that despite government support for developing skills in e‐waste, both the development and utilisation of skills remain minimal. Critically, the relatively more skill‐intensive process of reuse is substantially less profitable than recycling and resource capture. The study concludes by noting that the expectations from the green economy for high‐quality jobs need to be assessed within the context of similar, misplaced celebrations of previous transformations of work to avoid recycling the same promises.

Keywords: green skills, repair and reuse, recycling, skills policy, e‐waste management, green economy, skills supply and demand.

Suggested Citation

Bozkurt, Ödül and Stowell, Alison, Skills in the Green Economy: Recycling Promises in the UK E‐Waste Management Sector (July 2016). New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol. 31, Issue 2, pp. 146-160, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2808787 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ntwe.12066

Ödül Bozkurt (Contact Author)

University of Sussex - School of Business, Management and Economics ( email )

Falmer, Brighton BN1 9SL
United Kingdom

Alison Stowell

Lancaster University - Management School ( email )

Bailrigg
Lancaster, LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

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