Category Archives: Recycling

New Articles: The moral economies of recycling in England and Sweden & Compost, domestic practice, and the transformation of alternative toilet cultures around Skaneateles Lake, NY

There are two new waste-related articles in the latest issue of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

Interactive Visualization of the Global Flow of Electronic Waste

Josh Lepawsky’s work on “The changing geography of global trade in electronic discards” shows that over time, the global circulation of electronic waste is characterized by developing countries are exporting to developed nations. The data that lead to this analysis are now in an interactive format (cartograms) that allow viewers to see transactions 1996, and again in 2012.

Bringing Waste to Public Spaces: Discussion with Artist Keeley Haftner

Keeley Haftner’s public art, two shrink-wrapped bails of recyclable materials, was inspired by her time as a sort-liner at the city’s local recycling plant. Now vandalized, draped in a black tarp and bearing a sign that states, “Our tax dollars are for keeping garbage OFF the streets”, the installation has started a dialogue about waste and art in public spaces.

Modern Waste is an Economic Strategy

Industry developed disposability through planned obsolescence, single-use items, cheap materials, throw-away packaging, fashion, and conspicuous consumption. American industry designed a shift in values that circulated goods through, rather than into, the consumer realm. The truism that humans are inherently wasteful came into being at a particular time and place, by design.

Love in E-waste, a workshop

Participatory design is a practice where ordinary users are part of the design process to help ensure the results meets their needs and values. Thus, both the process and the products tend to be different than a top-down approach to creating (and wasting) objects. Love in E-waste adds another twist, in that rather than designing something from scratch, it starts with a waste product.

CFP: The Aesthetics of Trash

Are there ways–through art–to acknowledge or conceptualize waste that would do more than celebrate such reuse or recycling? How can artists, philosophers, theorists, activists, and others produce new ways to acknowledge or envision events and phenomena like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, radioactive wastelands like Fukushima or Bikini Atoll, the animal wastes of feedlots, the water wastes of fracking, or the mountains of trash produced by consumer culture?

Why Discard Studies?

People tend to think that we are familiar with waste because we deal with it every day. Yet, this is not the case. Discard studies is central to thinking through and countering the initiative aspects of waste. As more popular, policy, activist, engineering and research attention is drawn to waste it becomes crucial for the humanities and social sciences to contextualize the problems, materialities and systems of waste that are not readily apparent to the invested but casual observer. Our task is to trouble the assumptions, premises and popular mythologies of waste so that work can go in a productive direction.

Misleading waste statistics

A comparison of national waste statistics shows undeniable differences between countries. However, such statistics are in many ways misleading and highlights differences that may actually not be there.

Myopic spatial politics in dominant narratives of e-waste

A new article by Josh Lepawsky argues against the popular notion that e-waste travels predominantly from ‘developed’ countries to ‘undeveloped’ countries, and what this change means for regulation and recycling practices.

Archive Alert! Chicago Recycling Coalition

The archives of the Chicago Recycling Coalition are now cataloged and available for use. They comprise the CRC’s battles to end incineration of waste in Chicago in the 1980s, and also the long history of Chicago’s attempts to develop curbside recycling services.