Giving discarded reusable items a second life : a case-based waste stream treasure hunt in the Norwegian waste industry within the framework of circular economy.
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- Master Thesis 
As the destructive environmental consequences of our economic system are becoming more and more apparent to us, researchers and citizens argue for a change in our economic system. One such change is the introduction of the circular economy, defined by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation (2013, p. 7) as “an industrial system which is restorative or regenerative by intension and design”. This thesis aims at contributing to reaching such an economy by investigating to what extent it is possible and profitable to take items out of the waste stream and give them a second life. It does so by first looking at whether there are functional/reusable items in Norwegian waste streams today. Secondly, the thesis looks at barriers and success factors for utilizing these items by preparing them for reuse. The questions were answered by conducting five qualitative interviews with executives at four Norwegian recycling stations. Besides, one observational study at a typical Norwegian recycling station and four qualitative interviews with other actors that somehow contribute to preparing items for reuse were done. This was compared to and facilitated with an extensive literature review on preparation for reuse. The results indicate that there are likely to exist reusable/functional items in Norwegian waste streams. Key barriers for utilizing these reusable/functional items seem to be the coupling of items between recycling stations and the customer, and lack of legislation that incentivizes preparation for reuse. The key success factor seems to be collaboration across industries, especially between recycling stations and social entrepreneurs.