Waste and Waste Management: Reading Notes

“Waste and Waste Management” by Joshua Reno

More notes: here

This article is a general overview of all the practical and conceptual issues surrounding waste. It acknowledges the different types of people and forms of waste labor and waste structures. The big picture is that waste can tell us a lot. It is entangled with our lives, the lives of non human creatures, and the planet we share

Couldn’t have said it better:

“As they circulate and deform, wastes mix with people and places, with which they mutually transform or become together. As with exchange practices, acts of rejection, remaking and reuse change people and their relations with each other as much as they change the objects themselves.”

“Waste management makes things disappear by moving them elsewhere, and, like most infrastructures of liberal governance, waste management is considered most successful to the extent that its workings and flows remain invisible. Waste management infrastructure is thus bio–political…”

“For waste to end up somewhere else, regardless of what is done with it, requires labor.”

“When people and places become associated with waste, they may be seen as waste themselves, that is as disposable and abject subjects without potential”

“The most common form of re use throughout the world is the informal recycling that occurs as part of informal economies in and around urban settings and their dumps. In the privileged corners of the Global North, exotic images of poor children scavenging on dumps have become a popular object of cosmopolitan consumption and moral concern. This denies the informal recycling that occurs among economically and politically marginal figures in wealthier societies. Children picking through dumps in Kenya or Brazil are more likely to be depicted in global media than is the informal waste recycling by homeless Californian drug addicts, middle class landfill workers in Michigan or dumpster diving anarchists’ collectives in many cities throughout the world”

“Waste circulates in and bit back as a result of nonhuman flows and divides.”

“Waste, in all its variety and complexity, should serve as a reminder that we can never fully grasp the planetary processes to which we contribute, nor can we assume that they are easily managed”

“Engineering techniques of waste management are now and have always been as much moral and political as they are mechanical and mathematical”