Taylor & Francis Group

New consumer roles in waste water management


Network-bound systems such as water and energy systems are increasingly confronted with environmental problems that cannot be solved without changing their modes of provision. More than any other flow provided through a network-bound system, the waste water flow comes very close to intimate personal and social life, complicating the introduction of environmental innovations in this sector. Using the concepts of trust and identity, questions concerning changing consumer roles in two cases of Decentralised Sanitation and Reuse Systems in the Netherlands are addressed. In both cases the building of trust within provider networks and between consumers and providers, as well as the possibility for consumers and providers to identify themselves with the aims of the project were key factors determining the success or failure of environmental innovations in waste water flows.

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