Why is recycling low on the waste hierarchy?
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.”
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.
Calling reuse “recycling” a common and seemingly simple mistake, yet it is extremely important to differentiate between the two for political and environmental reasons.
A waste audit is an analysis of a localized waste stream from your building, household, classroom, town or business. It can identify what types of waste that local generates, and how much. How do you conduct an audit? What can you learn from one?
What is the circular economy, exactly? Is it capitalism with better accounting? Is it about scaling up recycling and reuse? Is it about consuming less, and producing less, or consuming and producing fundamentally differently? Does it go so far as to advocate for a degrowth or steady state economy, where the loop on production and consumption is totally closed?
The Ocean Conservatory’s Call for Mass Incineration in Asia: Disposability for Profit, Fantasies of Containment, & Colonialism
The Ocean Conservatory would like to burn 80% of the waste in coastal Asia with US-made incinerators. According to a wide range of experts and grassroots organizations from around the world, that’s a problem.
The Power Behind Disposability: Why New York City’s ban on polystyrene was vilified, sued, and reversed
On July 1 New York City banned disposable Styrofoam containers. First they were sued over the decision, and last week the ban was overturned. What is the big deal? The answer, not surprisingly, is profit. Industry saves money through the creation of disposables. And disposables are only environmentally acceptable if they are recycled. Except they aren’t.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The Ocean Cleanup array, designed to clean plastics from the ocean like a baleen whale, is one of these good intentions: experts in marine plastics, including myself, say it’s a bad idea.Technological fixes like the Array do harm to the larger project of ending plastic pollution, which is a complex social, environmental, and economic problem. It is also going to damage and kill marine life.