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Informal Waste Entrepreneurship: A Case Study of Roma Municipal Waste Collection in Hungary

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Trash or Treasure

Abstract

Roma communities are commonly associated with working in the informal economy. This study focuses on entrepreneurial practices of Roma individuals dealing in informal municipal waste collection in Hungary with enquiry set against a background of environmental sustainability embodied in the ‘circular economy’. Entrepreneurial ecosystem theory is subsequently drawn upon to guide an ethnographic research approach. Findings are thematically derived to create a foundation for integration of Roma entrepreneurial practices with circular economy oriented official waste collection policies. Outcomes primarily indicate existence of a market based transactional supply chain for informally collected waste material. Moreover, Roma informal entrepreneurship is opportunity oriented, driven by social capital formation and is serendipitously beneficial to society. Paradoxes also arise in conflicting purposes of formal and informal waste collection practices. The prime theoretical implication is that efforts to formalize Roma entrepreneurial activities should be considered against sustainable socio-economic benefits.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Translated from Hungarian as ‘waste clearance’.

  2. 2.

    https://www.fkf.hu/tajekoztato-2022-evi-lomtalanitasrol—list of collection times: FKF—Fővárosi Közterület-fenntartó (Metropolitan Public Area Maintenance Company), hereafter referred to as ‘MPAMC’.

  3. 3.

    Interview with MPAMC official.

  4. 4.

    Vasudvars’ are waste metal scrapyards and are generally smaller scale entities than larger scrap metal enterprises, hereafter referred to as ‘méhteleps’.

  5. 5.

    1 Euro = 383 HUF (Hungarian Forint) (September 18 2023 exchange rate).

  6. 6.

    https://www.collectors2020.eu/wcs-ppw/warsaw-pl; Accessed—10 July 2022.

  7. 7.

    https://www.municipalwasteeurope.eu/sites/default/files/AT%20Vienna%20Capital%20factsheet.pdf. https://www.municipalwasteeurope.eu/sites/default/files/DE%20Berlin%20Capital%20factsheet.pdf. Retrieved on July 20 2022; Municipal Waste Europe is an international non-profit organization registered by the European Commission.

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Declaration of Interests

No external funding was received in the course of conducting field research for this chapter.

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Correspondence to Tim Gittins .

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Appendix: Scrapyard Enterprise Revenue, 2021 (000, HUF)

Appendix: Scrapyard Enterprise Revenue, 2021 (000, HUF)

Rank

Net annual revenue

1

84,151,981.00

2

29,491,596.00

3

6,951,435.00

4

6,887,992.00

5

4,228,606.00

6

3,145,198.00

7

2,934,127.00

8

2,200,602.00

9

2,148,430.00

10

2,079,980.00

11

2,041,802.00

12

1,735,657.00

13

1,626,494.00

14

1,519,806.00

15

1,464,571.00

16

1,461,271.00

17

1,297,652.00

18

1,067,796.00

19

941,387.00

20

923,885.00

Total

158,300,267.00

  1. Source Retrieved October 12, 2022 from https://e-beszamolo.im.gov.hu/oldal/kezdolap

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Gittins, T., Letenyei, L. (2024). Informal Waste Entrepreneurship: A Case Study of Roma Municipal Waste Collection in Hungary. In: Singh, P., Borthakur, A. (eds) Trash or Treasure . Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-55131-4_2

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