Kommunerna och kretsloppet : avloppssektorns förändring från rening till resurshantering

Sammanfattning: "The recycling society" and "the sustainable society" are concepts used by the Swedish government to express visions for the future, in which one goal is to find more appropriate ways of managing resources. The government has appointed the municipalities to be the prime movers in the process of change which will be necessary to obtain a sustainable development. The purpose of this study is to answer the question: How has the recycling of sewage water been carried out in the Swedish municipalities? The results are explained through an analysis of the relationships between actors, national policy, institutions, and external factors. To clarify these relationships, a model is developed. Three methods for the recycling of sewage water have been distinguished: land application of sewage sludge, irrigation with wastewater, and urine separation. The informants' awareness about the concept of recycling and of its complexity was not very profound, thus their recycling policy is rather adjustment than major change. Recycling of sludge from conventional sewage treatment systems is the most frequently used method, while the adoption of new technologies appears to be filled with conflict. The concept of "monoculture" can be used to describe the municipal organisation, a monoculture upheld by a consistency between individual and collective goals at a national level. The implementation of recycling policies involving new technology is explained by actors behaving as policy entrepreneurs. In contrast to the regular actors within the sewage treatment sector, policy entrepreneurs are less influenced by institutional factors, they are more prone to act according to their individual beliefs. The present institutional structure appears to be of major importance for local policymaking, as is the relation between the government and the municipalities. Both factors contribute to a situation where the municipalities turn out to be reactive rather than anticipative. It has been shown that the transference of responsibility for the change towards sustainable development to the municipalities implies only minor changes in practice. The municipalities must be supported by a carefully prepared incentive structure if they shall act as prime movers in the transformation to sustainable development.

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