Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Julie George

Subject Categories

Comparative Politics | Environmental Studies | Urban Studies and Planning


Federalism, Spain, Waste Management, Environmental Politics, Climate Policy, Public Policy, Democracy


Every country, regardless of regime-type, produces garbage. Waste is a significant contributor to the climate crisis, and its management requires the participation of society at large. The competency for waste management falls on the most decentralized forms of governance. The local government, however, faces a tremendous difficulty in that it may not be able to realign economic and political incentives to make the sustainable management of post-consumer material a viable option. Using waste policy as a lens to assess climate crisis readiness and federal governance, this study considers Navarra and Basque Country, two of Spain’s most decentralized regions, and creates a snapshot of how they are responding to federal pressures. Spain’s asymmetrical federal system exists within the European Union’s framework and, following the lead of other Member States, the country’s autonomous communities and municipal governments are experimenting with waste management. The study relies on public observation, personal interviews, governmental plans, and local journalism.