- Robertson, Margaret 2014, chapter 15 ‘Waste and Recycling’ in Sustainability: Principles and Practice, Abingdon: Earthscan/Routledge
A good concise overview of waste challenges and responses with an emphasis on the US. An earlier chapter (9) deals with different forms of pollution resulting from the different waste streams produced by human activities.
- Crang, Mike, Alex Hughes, Nicky Gregson, Lucy Norris, Farid Ahamed, 2012, ‘Rethinking governance and value in commodity chains through global recycling networks,’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 38 (1), pp 12-24.
This paper examines how global recycling networks enable end-of-life goods to be transported to places where they are disassembled and materials recovered that become resources for further rounds of commodity production. It examines examples of used clothing and end-of-life merchant ships to illustrate the dynamics of global recycling networks, and highlights how these differ from global production networks for new commodities made from virgin materials.
- Hawkins, Gay, 2006, The ethics of waste: how we relate to rubbish, Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.
Rubbish has always been a significant part of industrial society but the ethics of how we relate to rubbish has changed over time. In this book, Gay Hawkins unpacks the cultural dimensions of waste and explores how current environmental concerns are affecting social norms of behaviour around waste, particularly in households.
- Lepawsky, Josh and Mostaem Billah, 2011, ‘Making Chains that (Un)make Things: Waste–Value Relations and the Bangladeshi Rubbish Electronics Industry,’ Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 93(2), pp 121-139.
Bangladesh is an important node in global recycling networks for electronic waste. This paper provides a detailed description of how economic value is both captured and created from waste electronics imported to Dhaka, Bangladesh. It provides insights into the organisation of labour in the local reprocessing industry.
- Prior, Tim, Damien Giurco, Gavin Mudd, Leah Mason, Johannes Bebhrisch, 2012, ‘Resource depletion, peak minerals and the implications for sustainable resource management,’ Global Environmental Change, 22(3), pp 577-587.
While metals are recyclable, mineral deposits are by definition ‘non-renewable’ resources and continued exploitation will eventually result in ‘peak minerals’, when production can no longer keep increasing to meet demand. This paper examines how environmental and social constraints are likely to influence mineral production levels in the future, and it considers more sustainable ways to deliver the services that minerals currently supply for construction and manufacturing.
- Strasser, Susan, 1999, Waste and Want: A social history of trash, New York: Henry Holt & Co.
Susan Strasser traces the social history of waste in households in the United States, beginning in the nineteenth century where thrift and recycling were the norm and following through the various periods of industrialisation, economic recession, war time constraints, and the emergence of today’s consumer culture. Alongside the experience of householders, she traces changes over time in local industries around the collection and recycling of waste materials.
Annotated Links to Further Web Resources
- Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste
The Basel Convention to control transboundary movement of hazardous waste was established in 1992. This website provides information on the operation of the convention, networks and projects. It also provides access to relevant publications. It is possible, for example, to compare the global movement of electronic waste in 1996 and 2012.
- European Union policy on waste management
The European Union has committed to the principles of resource efficiency and waste avoidance, as captured by the concepts of the ‘circular economy’ and the ‘waste hierarchy’. This website explains the policy initiatives and provides links to the regulatory framework provided by the European Commission Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC.
- Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN)
With its emphasis on global food production and water security for poor communities, the FAO website provides information on a wide range of themes related to resource use. It provides access to statistics on global trends related to food and water.
- World Health Organization: Children’s Environmental Health Programme
The World Health Organization is focusing attention on hazards associated with the global explosion of electronic waste materials.
- Waste Management World
This website provides access for paid subscribers to a magazine and other resources on international waste management projects and programs.
Annotated Links to Video Clips
- Food wastage footprint
Produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in 2013, this short video focuses on the fact that around 30% of global food produced is wasted while ecosystems are degraded and many people go hungry. It introduces some ways to reduce food waste.
- FAO Food Wastage Footprint
In 2010 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation published a report detailing how and where food is wasted in the world. One third of all food grown is never consumed, as this YouTube video clip demonstrates.
- Petcoke: Toxic waste in the windy city
This is a well-produced 2014 video focusing on community concern in south Chicago about the storing of petroleum coke ‒ a toxic byproduct of petroleum processing ‒ near their neighbourhood before it is transported to countries with lower environmental protection laws. The environmental hazard is predicted to increase.
- The Love Canal Disaster: A Retro Report by the New York Times
The undisclosed dumping of highly toxic waste at Love Canal in Niagara Falls triggered a globally significant protest movement in 1978. This 2013 report by the New York Times reviews the disaster and considers its consequences.
- The Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch
A short video on the problems posed by the streams of plastics entering our global waterways and oceans.
- Following ships of rubbish value: A photographic essay
This is a brilliant set of images without sound; very good for background to a lecture or talk.
- Everything must go: Featuring the travels of a red coat
This slide show ‒ without captions ‒ examines what happens to clothes donated to ‘charity shops’ in the UK. It features the journey of a particular red coat.
- Recycling in India
This short video explains that recycling has been a part of Indian culture for centuries. Now the country is importing waste material from other parts of the world for a rather unorganised waste recycling industry. The video provides links to other presentations on waste recycling in India.
- Mutilation and Mutability: The destruction of clothing in India and its reclamation
A very short slide show with captions about the reprocessing in India of used clothing sourced from the UK.
- E-waste view on Bangladesh
This is an informative 2013 documentary made in Bangladesh about the emergence of the electronic waste recycling industry in that country.
- Amazing Eco House: Recycled materials, Cebu, Philippines
As with India, there are many videos and images showing poor people being forced to eke out a living by reusing or recycling waste materials. This video focuses on the positive side of the recycling culture by focusing on an inspirational ‘eco-house’ project in Cebu.
- Sprouts Food Rescue Program
This is a 2014 video presentation on a very impressive food rescue program in USA.
- Food Rescue in Action
This is a lively slideshow with upbeat music on a wide variety of food rescue projects across the USA.
- Dumpster Diving
Dumpster diving ‒ rescuing goods that have been dumped into large waste bins ‒ originated in the USA. This is an Australian television report on people rescuing dumped food from supermarket waste bins.