Over the past 100 years, visual artists probably deserve the most credit for thrift shopping’s place in the cultural milieu.
These are admirable initiatives, but they only reduce wastage or delay garments from ending up in landfill. They do not address the fact that the scale of fast fashion is so massive it can easily eclipse other sustainability initiatives.
Thinking with virtual data demonstrates that reduction of material waste alone does not mean a reduction of an overall environmental footprint on this planet.
Why is recycling low on the waste hierarchy?
Remember, this is not waste that was dumped directly by human hands. It was washed here on ocean currents, meaning that this is not just about one beach – it shows how much the pollution problem has grown in the entire ocean system in little more than two decades.
If I could only recommend one text in discard studies, it would be Recycling Reconsidered by Samantha MacBride (2011, MIT Press).
“Viewed as a concept by some, a framework by others, the CE is an alternative to a traditional take-make-dispose linear economy. A CE aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. The value is maintained or extracted though extension of product lifetimes by reuse, refurbishment, and remanufacturing as well as closing of resource cycles—through recycling and related strategies.”
Our research into the issue of corporate social responsibility and wastage of fresh fruit and vegetables has identified a number of tensions and contradictions, despite leading Australian supermarkets’ zero food waste targets.
Consumers, fed up with having to throw away broken phones, toasters and other appliances, are instead meeting to learn how to repair them and to extend the lifetime of their products. These repair “pop-up parties”, where like-minded people can improve or learn new skills in a supportive environment, can prevent still-useful products from ending up in the bin, while saving money.
A walk down this little street in Peru’s capital provides a glimpse into an understated network that quietly plays a critical role in reducing the environmental impacts of our global production and consumption patterns of electronic devices.