The Role of Consumers in the Quest for Zero-Waste

Degree type


Closing date

29 October 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

An estimated 1,500-2,000 tonnes of waste is generated yearly by catering businesses in Australia . These include wet waste as food and dry waste as non-biodegradable materials (e.g. plastic, cans) generated in restaurants, café’s, and other food service outlets. Firms face challenges of leveraging on their existing resources to reduce wastes. The consumer can be a potential resource yet has been overlooked in facilitating firms’ move towards environmentally sustainable practices. In particular, resource constrained small and medium-sized firms struggle to find ways to develop capabilities that give them competitive advantage, while simultaneously trying to implement environmentally focussed measures, such as zero-waste operations. The consumer can be a potential resource yet has been overlooked in facilitating firms’ move towards environmentally sustainable practices. The ideas and solutions from consumers contribute to this collective effort, such as the ones demonstrated in Facebook public group ‘Zero Waste Tasmania’. Focusing on the café and restaurant sector in Tasmania, the project seeks answer to address the following questions:

  • What firm- and consumer- level resources and capabilities support zero-waste practices?
  • What role do (or can) consumers play in helping businesses transform waste into resource in the Zero-waste supply chain practices?

The successful applicant will conduct surveys and interviews with consumers, businesses and other key stakeholders (e.g. Responsible café network) to understand zero-waste initiatives and practices in the industry. Responses will be analysed using quantitative and qualitative methods.

Insights from this project will be used to identify the resources, capabilities and/or pathways that are key to the development and implementation of a waste elimination in businesses in Tasmania.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Lin Yang


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience of conducting empirical research in the field of Marketing or Management, evidenced by an Honours/Masters dissertation or equivalent
  • Passion for issues associated with sustainability in Tasmania and beyond

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Evidence of academic writing/presentation via at least one conference or journal is desirable

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Lin Yang, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including contact details of two referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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