Not only do natural (and unnatural) disasters produce a lot of waste, they are also extreme but oddly quintessential events where practices, behavior, and cultures around waste and wasting, as well as their inverse–repairing, fixing, rebuilding–move to the fore. In the weeks proceeding and following the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy making landfall in New York City and surrounding area, Discard Studies will feature a series of articles about the complexities of disaster and waste, broadly defined. This article looks at the material and emotional nature of waste during disaster.
Guest post by Kim DeWolff via her blog Plasticized. On a sunny spring morning we walk the Arahama coast near Sendai, the largest city in the Tohoku region that experienced the March 2011 tsunami. Two years and a few days later, yellowed grass stands in cracked concrete outlines of houses, bathroom tiles still recognizable. A […]
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By Max Liboiron. As Samantha MacBride notes, modern waste–that is, postindustrial waste and particularly waste developed after 1945 when consumerism came into full swing in the United States– is synthetic, unpredictable, and heterogenous. Additionally, it has unique spatial and temporal characteristics compared to its predecessors. First, longevity: I’ve written elsewhere about the staggering longevity of plastics; […]
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