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Citizens and Consumers in Sustainability Transformation: The Case of the Zero Waste Movement
Faced with unprecedented challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, individuals across the globe are engaging in transformations towards more sustainable societies. Over the last few years, citizens have grown to be more aware of the negative impact of plastics, manifested in a global movement of zero waste. The aim of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework for studying the zero waste movement in two differing contexts, that of Switzerland and China. Through the social practice theory lens, we grapple with shared understandings, procedure and engagement (Warde 2014). We begin with a literature review of the zero waste movement in social and environmental studies, noting a research gap in how the movement – albeit global in its aspirations - is being practiced in different local and regional settings. We then provide historical insights on how the movement emerged in Switzerland and China, based on available data, suggesting that more emphasis could be placed on uncovering forms of collective action as a social practice, building on Welch and Yates (2018). Finally, we outline the conceptual framework and propose an analytical tool for further studying the zero waste movement in these two contexts, building on social practice theory, which can be relevant to further studies on collective action towards more sustainable consumption and production.