ONE PLATE OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE PLEASE, TO GO : An anthropological exploration of reusable packaging networks - a Rotterdam-based case study
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The COVID-pandemic has forced cafes and restaurants to close doors and transition to take-out menus. Resulting in a sharp increase in food and drink take-out in the Netherlands. The disposable packaging used for wrapping these products contributes to one of the main issues of the current unsustainable planetary situation: the unprecedented amount of waste produced by consumer societies. Alternatives to disposable packaging are on the rise: reusable packaging networks are emerging on a rapid scale. This research explores the individual acts and practices of sustainable citizenship within reusable food packaging networks. The three chapters of this thesis assess to what extend these practices reflect neoliberal individual responsibility (chapter one) and collective action (chapter two) or political action (chapter three). This case study of the PackBack reusable packaging network illustrates how market-related practices encompass elements of collective and political action that go beyond and even contest neoliberal logic. This study aims to nuance the anthropological critiques on the market and individual practices as sphere for social change through showing the elements of collective and political action which may arise within individual and market-related practices. Simultaneously it highlights the limitations of the market and individual practises as solution to the ecological crisis.