The Dirt

Discard Studies is an interdisciplinary field of research that takes systems of waste and wasting as its topic of study, including but beyond conventional notions of trash and garbage. To keep practitioners up to date, Discard Studies publishes The Dirt, a monthly compilation of recent publications, positions, opportunities, and calls for proposals in the field. Here is the Dirt for Autumn 2023.

Special Note: Discard Studies offers a public Zotero library of references collected from The Dirt.

The Zotero library is updated with the publication of each new edition of The Dirt and can be found on the Resources page.

Anyone can access the Zotero library, whether or not they use Zotero software. For those not already familiar with Zotero, it is a free and open-source software. More about Zotero here.

Peer-reviewed Articles & Books

Note: If an article is behind a paywall, email the author. They are almost always authorized by copyright to distribute their own work.

We post the gender parity of The Dirt. According to the Summers Gender Balance Assessment Tool, the bibliography for The Dirt for Autumn 2023 is approximately 18% Women, 61% Men, and 21% Unknown.

Abrahms-Kavunenko, Saskia. “Toward an Anthropology of Plastics.” Journal of Material Culture, 28(1):3-23, Mar. 2023.

Adekunle, Modinat M., et al. “Waste Picking and the Effects of Solid Waste Separation by Households in Ibadan Metropolis, SW Nigeria.” International Journal of Environmental Studies 80(4):948-63, July 2023.

Alexander, Catherine, and Patrick O’Hare. “Waste and Its Disguises: Technologies of (Un)Knowing.” Ethnos 88(3):419–43, May 2023.

Alexander, Catherine. “A Chronotope of Expansion: Resisting Spatio-Temporal Limits in a Kazakh Nuclear Town.” Ethnos 88(3):467-90, May 2023.

Allison, Elizabeth. “The Reincarnation of Waste: A Case Study of Spiritual Ecology Activism for Household Solid Waste Management: The Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative of Rural Bhutan.” Religions  10(9):514, Sept. 2019.

Anierobi, Christopher M., et al. “Waste-to-Wealth Activities of Scavengers: A Panacea to the Environmental Impact of Global Climate Change in Enugu Metropolis, Nigeria.” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science  1054(1), Sept. 2022.

Barnes, Nicole Elizabeth. “The Many Values of Night Soil in Wartime China*.” Past & Present, 259(1):194-228, May 2023.

Barnett, William C. “Troubled Waters: New York City’s Waterfront and Wastescapes.” Journal of Urban History, Mar. 2023.

Bhattacharya, Roumi. “A Review on Production and Application of Activated Carbon from Discarded Plastics in the Context of ‘Waste Treats Waste.’” Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 325, Jan. 2023.

Blanco, Marta, et al. “Characterization of Discards along a Wide Bathymetric Range from a Trawl Fishery in the NW Mediterranean.” Fisheries Research, vol. 258, Feb. 2023.

Boussac, Tamara. “‘A Dumping Ground for the South’: Race, Place, and Poverty in Newburgh, New York (1945-1961).” Journal of Urban History, Sept. 2021.

Bresnihan, Patrick, and Patrick Brodie. “Data Sinks, Carbon Services: Waste, Storage and Energy Cultures on Ireland’s Peat Bogs.” New Media & Society, 25(2):361-83, Feb. 2023.

Butt, Waqas H. “Accessing Value in Lahore’s Waste Infrastructures.” Ethnos 88(3):533-53, May 2023.

Cherrier, Hélène, and Meltem Türe. “Tensions in the Enactment of Neoliberal Consumer Responsibilization for Waste.” Journal of Consumer Research 50(1):93-115, June 2023.

Cowlishaw, Tim. “The Symbols of the Divine: Approaching a Post-Human Ontology of Digital Design via the Study of Discards.” INMATERIAL. Diseño, Arte y Sociedad  7(13):14-34, July 2022.

Fraulin, Georgia, et al. “‘They Came with Cholera When They Were Tired of Killing Us with Bullets’: Community Perceptions of the 2010 Origin of Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic.” Global Public Health 17(5):738-52, May 2022.

Gutiérrez D, José Antonio. “Eating, Shitting and Shooting: A Scatological and Culinary Approximation to the Daily Lives of Rebels.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism  46(10):1817-39, Oct. 2023.

Hager, Carol. “Urban Environments: Science, Governance, and Social Change at the City/Nature Interface.” Journal of Urban History, Oct. 2023.

Hankins, Kristin. “Framing the Litterbug: Picturing and Policing Public Cleanliness in Mid-Twentieth Century Philadelphia.” Journal of Urban History 48(6):1383–406, Nov. 2022.

Hasugian, Leonardi Paris, et al. “Design of Recyclable Waste Mapping Information System for Waste Pickers.” IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering  879(1), July 2020.,

Hesse, Arielle, et al. “The Data Treadmill: Water Governance and the Politics of Pollution in Rural Ireland.” Local Environment, 28(5):602-18, May 2023.

Huigen, Brandaan. “Beyond Confinement: Cape Gangsters and the Sub-Saharan Trade of Stolen Electronics.” Ethnos 88(3):554-75, May 2023.

Iñiguez-Gallardo, Verónica, and Pablo Romero Mejía. “Perspectives of Informal Street Waste Pickers in Loja-Ecuador.” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science  1141(1), Feb. 2023.

Kalina, Marc, et al. “‘The Rich Will Always Be Able to Dispose of Their Waste’: A View from the Frontlines of Municipal Failure in Makhanda, South Africa.” Environment, Development and Sustainability, May 2023,

Kolb, Michael J., and Gene Wheaton. “The Water Supply Infrastructure of Early Denver.” Journal of Urban History, Sept. 2023.

Leonard, Ryan, and Ian D. Williams. “Viability of a Circular Economy for Space Debris.” Waste Management, vol. 155, Jan. 2023, pp. 19–28,

Liebman, Adam. “Harnessing the Stenches of Waste: Human Bodies as Olfactory Sensors in Contemporary China.” Aromas of Asia: Exchanges, Histories, Threats, Penn State, 2023, pp. 194-213.

Ma, Jie, et al. “Comparison between Discarded Facemask and Common Plastic Waste on Microbial Colonization and Physiochemical Properties during Aging in Seawater.” Journal of Hazardous Materials, vol. 455, Aug. 2023.

Merewether, Jane, Mindy Blaise, Katie Pitchford, and Stefania Giamminuti. “Unsettling ‘Reduce-Reuse-Recycle’: The Provocation of Wastepaper and ‘Discarding Well.’” The Journal of Environmental Education 54(3):199-212; May 2023.

Morais, Jandira, et al. “Global Review of Human Waste-Picking and Its Contribution to Poverty Alleviation and a Circular Economy.” Environmental Research Letters, 17(6), May 2022.

O’Hare, Patrick. “Creating Waste and Resisting Recovery: Contested Practices and Metaphors in Post-Neoliberal Argentina.” Ethnos 88(3):512-32, May 2023.

Oliveira, Ana M., et al. “Current Knowledge on the Presence, Biodegradation, and Toxicity of Discarded Face Masks in the Environment.” Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 11(2), Apr. 2023.

Olson, Philip R. “Knowing ‘Necro-Waste.’” Social Epistemology  30(3): 326–45, May 2016.

Peña Valderrama, Sara. “Disappearing Waste and Wasting Time: From Productive Fallows to Carbon Offset Production in Madagascar’s Forests.” Ethnos 88(3):491-511. May 2023.

Rava Zolnikov, Tara. “Stop Treating Waste Pickers like Garbage: An Autoethnography on Informal Waste Picking in Brazil.” Global Public Health 18(1 ):1-6, Jan. 2023.

Reno, Joshua. “Engineering Military Rubbish: The Ethics of Waste in and around a Lockheed Martin Facility in New York State.” Ethnos 88(3):444-66, May 2023.

Riguelle, William. From Mangons to Rewards: Butchery Animals as Revealing the Diversity of Trades in Belgian Cities in the Early Modern Period – Journal of Urban History, Sept 2023. https://doi/full/10.1177/00961442231191808

Rossi, Jairus. “Restored Ecosystems as Instructive Tactile Landscapes.” Social & Cultural Geography  24(6):1042-62, July 2023.

Rybak-Niedziółka, Kinga, et al. “Use of Waste Building Materials in Architecture and Urban Planning—A Review of Selected Examples.” Sustainability 15(6):5047, Jan. 2023.

Schott, Monika. “The Belonging in Abject Communities: A New Understanding through Sewerage Ghost Towns.” Rethinking History  27(3):345-76, July 2023.

Sert, Esra. “Metabolic Flows of Water in İstanbul in the Nineteenth Century: Tap Water, Waste, and Sanitation.” Journal of Urban History, Feb. 2022.

Szolucha, Anna. “Futures of Fracking and the Everyday: Hydrocarbon Infrastructures, Unruly Materialities and Conspiracies.” Ethnos 88(3):576-96, May 2023.

Vincevica-Gaile, Zane, et al. “Case Study-Based Integrated Assessment of Former Waste Disposal Sites Transformed to Green Space in Terms of Ecosystem Services and Land Assets Recovery.” Sustainability 15(4):3256, Jan. 2023.

Zhang, Huiyi, et al. “A Review of the Potential Utilisation of Plastic Waste as Adsorbent for Removal of Hazardous Priority Contaminants from Aqueous Environments.” Environmental Pollution, vol. 258, Mar. 2020.

Zia, Asad, et al. “Effectiveness of Hybrid Discarded Tire/Industrial Steel Fibers for Improving the Sustainability of Concrete Structures.” Construction and Building Materials, vol. 378, May 2023.

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