The purpose of this paper is to highlight the relationship between lifestyles, household and household wastes, by exploring possible future development path for the lifestyle and the possible consequences for household waste composition. The study predicates on a reasonably simple and straightforward idea that the waste generated from homes is a product of the way the people live and since the way of life of people change overtime, getting an idea of how people may live in future may give an insight into the sorts of composition of waste produced by them. It tends to provide a contribution to the evidence base on household waste at a general level.
The overall approach hinged on the notion that the household is the appropriate analytical unit of household waste production composition. This specified inputs needed to develop scenarios for future waste composition. The weekly generation of sorted wastes from their various sources was determined by direct measurement in kilograms on a weighing scale. Questionnaires were administered to elicit information on key drivers and factors that influence lifestyles scenarios and their development. Interviews were conducted with relevant stakeholders and government agencies on waste management.
The results indicated that food related waste constituted the major percentages and tonnages (44 percent, 269,870 tons) of household waste, while the least portion was glass (1.2 percent,7,278 tons). The key drivers responsible for generation of food waste include level of income, subsistence farming that generate organic food waste and rise in fast food outfits that give preference to readymade food over cooking at homes. The drivers for developing future scenarios include population, government regulations, nature of apartment, level of income, consumer spending, management technology. Three scenarios were developed: status quo trends, strong government and destination point.
Models should be developed for better simulation studies of lifestyle scenarios by quantifying household wastes in terms of carbon footprint and money instead of relying on quantities generated in tons. Further studies should extend to other sources of waste such as industrial waste, electrical and electronic waste, among others. The implication from research findings shows the need for sustained for sustained awareness on people’s lifestyle with regard to handling of household wastes by government agencies, institutions and non-governmental organizations. Scenario planning is required to enable, encourage and engage householders to make changes in their lifestyles.
Food waste, by virtue of its tonnage and percentage composition, dominated the overall picture during the study period and will continue to do so in the near future. The composition of household waste in the future will be driven by the population and lifestyles of the householders. The drivers of lifestyles are crucial factors that determine the picture of the future. Furthermore, it is possible to conjecture circumstances in which household waste is converted to wealth at the destination point but the period before then imply some radical changes in both lifestyles and underlying economic growth facilitated by a strong political will.
This research could be of enormous benefit to policy makers, practitioners and others with an interest in or responsibility to the development and implementation of sustainable waste management. Scenarios are devices for enabling organizations and the individuals within them better to understand their operating environment, so as to make better decisions. This research is a scenario-planning exercise, considering how future changes in lifestyles of people in Port Harcourt metropolis now and in future may impact on the future composition of wastes they generate.
Umunnakwe, J.E., Ekweozor, I. and Umunnakwe, B.A. (2019), "Impact of lifestyle scenarios on household wastes in Port Harcourt", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 864-889. https://doi.org/10.1108/MEQ-04-2018-0079
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