End of Waste

FRIDAY 16 JUNE 2023 / 14:30 AM - 17:00 PM (GMT+2)
Maria Pettersson & Oskar Johansson
, Luleå University of Technology (SE)

End of Waste is a much discussed and important concept in the context of a circular economy. Naturally, waste has always been able to transition from waste into something else – i.e., attain full recovery – with the first recorded case being recycling of paper in Japan in the 11th century. However, whether something constitutes waste or not is most often intuitive - that something comprises a valuable resource rather than a waste can typically be determined at first glance. While a discarded bottle in a trashcan would most certainly be considered waste, the same bottle would not constitute waste if someone picked it up and continue to use it. An objects’ characteristics, such as toxicity, flammability or over-all functionality is not decisive as to whether the object will be deemed as a waste or not. However, from a legal perspective, the determination of whether something constitutes waste or not can be very important, as the incorrect handling of waste is criminalized in many countries.


  • Definition of Waste
  • Purpose of Waste legislation
  • Implications of Waste legislation
  • End of Waste – concept and consequences



With two Master’s degrees – one in Economics and one in Law, as a basis, Maria Pettersson received a doctorate degree (LL.D) in 2008. She became associate professor in 2014 and full professor in 2016. Since 2017 she is the Head of Subject in law at Luleå University of Technology. She is specialised in environmental and natural resources law. At the center of her research is the function of law in relation to the management and utilization of natural resources. Examples of MPs research areas include renewable energy development; mining; forest governance; and waste management. A special focus is on permit processes and the appropriateness of different types of environmental requirements and conditions for permit, including implementation and use of limit values and standards. Maria Pettersson is also responsible for the Master’s program in Environmental and Natural Resources law at Luleå University of Technology.

Oskar Johansson is a second year PHD-student in natural resources and environmental law at Luleå Tekniska Universitet (Lulea University of Technology). His research is primarily situated within the role of law regarding waste as a ‘resource’ on one hand and the protection of the environment on the other.