MA Theme in Economics and Politics

Billie Rehwald
Arts and Society, Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
2023S, scientific seminar (SEW), 2.0 ECTS, 1.0 semester hours, course number S04638


The Alchemy of Discards - exploring potentials of discarded materials

Waste management includes the key elements of collecting, transporting, processing, recycling, and disposing of waste materials. Proper waste management conserves natural resources (raw materials, energy etc.) and minimizes the environmental and health impacts of waste, while promoting sustainable practices that benefit both current and future generations. 

In this lecture, our aim is to shed light on the everyday interactions we have with waste. Together we want to identify the moment when something once important and valuable suddenly transforms into waste that we want to discard. Why has the object suddenly lost its value? Where does it go? Who does it belong to? Is it still valuable?

We will explore how waste affects us as individuals and as a community, as well as the broader impacts on our environment. Specifically, we will focus on the path that waste takes after it is discarded and give insights to how modern waste management systems operate. Further, we will discuss the latest developments in waste management, e.g. rising recycling targets, as part of the circular economy concept and the related impacts. Since we want to take a holistic view of the topic, we want to include areas that fall outside the direct scope of waste management. Nevertheless, we have a strong systemic connection, for example (product) design for recycling.

Using a waste diary, we will assess and categorize our own waste behavior. We will gain insight into scientific methods such as sorting analysis, material flow analysis and consumer observation. We will look at the most important secondary raw materials, learn to recognize and name them and discuss how products have to be designed to be processed in the end of life phase and utilized again as raw materials. 

Examination Modalities

For the successful completion of the course, the following criteria will be taken into consideration: 

Regular and punctual attendance (minimum 75% attendance, 40% of the grade);
Submission and presentations, e.g. waste diary (40% of the grade); 
Active participation in the discussions (20% of the grade)


This is a joint lecture with Veronika Kladnik and CDS MA Lab

You must be registered for both lectures:


Key Words

waste management, secondary raw materials, sustainable practices, recycling targets, recycling, waste behavior, circular economy


09 March 2023, 13:00–18:00 CDS Seminar Room , "Angewandte Walkthrough as part of the CDS Lab"
16 March 2023, 13:00–17:00 CDS Seminar Room , "Waste Management Systems Stakeholder analysis, part of CDC Lab"
24 March 2023, 10:00–13:00 CDS Seminar Room , "Waste Diary Presentations, Materials in Waste, Design for Recycling"
21 April 2023, 10:00–13:00 CDS Seminar Room , "Scientific Observation on Consumer Behavior" (guest lecture: Dr. Barbara Hartl)
05 May 2023, 10:00–11:30 , "canceled!"
11 May 2023, 13:00–17:00 , "Waste Sorting Analysis at Angewandte"
22 May 2023, 10:00–13:00 CDS Seminar Room , "Material Flow Analysis"
12 June 2023, 10:00–13:00 CDS Seminar Room , "Final Presentations"

Course Enrolment

From 02 February 2023, 12:51
Via online registration

Co-registration: not possible

Attending individual courses: not possible