A call for abstracts for the session "Treating Waste as a Resource". The deadline for abstracts is 13 Feb, 2017. For more details about submission see the official CFP on the RGS Annual Meeting website.
The American Association of Geographers 2017 Annual Meeting in Boston is going to play host to a number of waste-oriented paper sessions. Two CFPs for this year:
Informality, legitimacy and authority in the age of the “Circular Economy”
Freyja Knapp, University of California, Berkeley
Manisha Anantharaman, St. Mary’s College of California
The circular economy is the “new kid on the block” in the arena of
technological and managerial responses to intensified waste production and
resource shortages. Circular economy strategists seek to apply technical and
design solutions to improve resource efficiency, reuse, and repurposing,
hoping for new waves of economic growth even in times of crisis. In parallel,
the urban infrastructure needed for circular resource flows is being remade
through processes of zoning and land use regulation in concert with waves of
gentrification and displacement. This session seeks to explore the
relationship between the growing activity and interest in the circular economy
(a subset of the “green” or sustainable economy) with contemporary urban
conflicts over so-called “nuisance” land uses, commodity property rights (e.g.
who owns curbside recyclables), race, and class. These conflicts recapitulate
familiar patterns of dispossession or appropriation, but with a green-economy
gloss that often masks socio-environmental injustices.
Critical engagement with circular economy ideas and practice is of essence,
especially as the concept has recently gained prominence as a global
sustainability strategy attractive to policymakers and businesses. In this
eagerness to realize the “win-win” solutions that the circular economy
promises, the socio-spatial practices that comprise circularity occur in the
shadows of the excited claims of sustainable development and consumption,
eliding the politics of expertise and practice embedded in urban re-cycling
This panel seeks to add to the growing critical scholarship on the green
economy and invites researchers studying discards, recycling, repurposing and
allied processes from a critical perspective to explore the hidden effects of
the circular economy transition. We are particularly interested in scholarship
that seeks to trouble the North-South distinction in waste/discard studies.
Some themes that we seek to explore include, but are not limited to:
How is the circular economy conceptualized across different places?
What physical, policy, and labor infrastructures articulate with the circular
economy, and how are they changing?
How are waste gleaning/picking and recycling activities in the so-called
“informal sector” articulating with new urban structures under the banner of
What are parallels or contradictions between the unlicensed waste collection
economies in the global North and the global South?
What does sustainability and justice mean within a circular/green economy?
What spatial politics are at work with “cleaning and greening up” the city?
How are patterns of economic development and gentrification intersecting with
How are notions of authority, expertise, or rights leveraged in contestations
over who may legitimately participate in the green economy, and how?
How can we rethink “informality” through the circular economy?
Abstracts (250 words) should be sent to Freyja Knapp firstname.lastname@example.org and
Manisha Anantharaman email@example.com by October 21. We will notify
accepted participants by October 24. The deadline to submit abstracts to the
AAG Annual Meeting is October 27.
Integrating waste systems: interrogating system boundaries and performance possibilities
Lily Baum Pollans, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT
Jonathan Krones, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Waste is a multi-dimensional phenomenon. In addition to being composed of an uncountable variety of materials, waste is generated and managed by actors at many scales, across disparate geographies, and through numerous processes. As discard studies scholars (among others) have noted, wastes have typically been categorized and treated—studied, regulated, managed—as discrete streams. Liquid waste is different from solid waste; industrial waste is different from municipal waste; hazardous waste is different from non-hazardous waste. These classificatory schemes render certain wastes less visible than others, and in so doing, have perpetuated the idea that isolated efforts to reduce waste in at a single locus—the household, often—will solve a nebulous and generalized “waste problem” (Liboiron 2014; MacBride, 2012; Gille, 2007). At the same time, the heterogeneity of wastes has historically necessitated approaches to infrastructure, management, and conceptualization that target to specific properties of waste materials in order to successfully satisfy dominant societal objectives such as sanitation or cost effective containment. With the acknowledgement of climate change and the many other ecological and social impacts of our modern systems of production and consumption, we ask whether these traditional, tailored approaches to waste will be able to adapt to new, broader performance goals.
With this session, we seek to improve our understanding of the extent to which the dimensions we use to conceptualize and define our waste systems either enable or constrain different performance possibilities of those systems, especially in light of a societal push towards sustainability. We seek scholars who work on questions of waste at a variety of scales and across material types to submit papers that transgress traditional waste boundaries or challenge their efficacy.
Topics could include:
- geographic abstraction of waste generation vs. physical emplacement of waste disposal
- the fractionating of MSW / the emergence of organic waste as a distinct municipal waste management category
- transboundary movements of waste materials and the diffusion of responsibility
- the regulatory possibilities of reconceptualizing waste as the output of a socio-metabolic process
- the implications of the hazardous/non-hazardous waste dichotomy / how hazards in officially non-hazardous wastes contaminate the biosphere
- integrating waste throughout the life-cycle, e.g. food waste at the farm, processor, retailer, restaurant, and home
- history of waste classifications and divergence of the possibilities frontier
If you are interested in joining this paper session, please submit a 250-word abstract to Lily Baum Pollans (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jonathan Krones (email@example.com) by Friday, October 20th. Please feel free to contact either of the session organizers about potential paper topics or with other questions concerning this call. We will get back to you before October 25th. Please note that participants are also expected to register and submit their abstracts through the AAG website themselves by October 27th at latest.
More details about the AAG-meeting can be found here:
At the Rachel Carson Centre for Environment and Society at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, München:
The DFG Emmy Noether Research Group Hazardous Travels: Ghost Acres and the Global Waste Economy invites applications for three funded positions for doctoral candidates (salary group TV-L 13, 65%, 3 + 1 years, additional funds for research and archival trips available).
DEADLINE NOV 15, 2016
Successful applicants will be graduates in the humanities or social sciences who wish to research the ecological and economic aspects of the international trade in hazardous waste from a global historical perspective. Doctoral candidates in the project will work on case studies from Germany, India, or Ecuador and should have background knowledge and language skills relevant to the respective area.
Complete details available here
Myra Hird has just published a new paper in The Northern Review titled "The DEW Line and Canada’s Arctic Waste: Legacy and Futurity"
Follow the link above to the special issue on northern inequalities or grab the paper directly.
Myra Hird, Scott Lougheed, Cassandra Kuyvenhoven and R. Kerry Rowe have made data collected about attitudes and self-reported waste management behaviours in Kingston Ontario publicly available. The survey includes self-reported diversion behaviours, attitudes towards the environment, perspectives and perceptions of waste management decision-making, and more.
You can access the dataset and codebook in the following two places:
Queen's QSpace: http://hdl.handle.net/1974/14638
You can also download Lougheed, Hird, and Rowe 2016 "Governing Household Waste Management: An empirical analysis and critique" Environmental Values, which reports on that data.
Some stunning and haunting photos from National Geographic from Delhi
MIT Senseable City Lab has launched MONiTOUR, a web-based mapping project to visualize the paths that e-waste follows around the world after disposal. This is a visually stunning representation of e-waste flows, laying bare just how far our waste moves, and upon whom it is foisted.
From the Call for Posters:
The Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada is hosting its biennial conference at Queen’s University from June 15 th to June 18 th , 2016. This conference provides a unique interdisciplinary forum for students to display their research projects. The conference explores themes like:
- What makes an environmental crisis common or uncommon?
- What ways of imagining, re-imagining and making our environments are held in common, or perhaps just as valuably, are uncommon?
- What can our common and uncommon cultures contribute in addressing environmental crisis?
However, the posters do not necessarily need to fit with the stated theme; all abstracts related to environmental studies are appreciated. We welcome posters from the social sciences, humanities, and sciences. We are striving for interdisciplinary representation!
The poster session is intended to highlight posters that feature: proposals for future research; overview of research processes; or results of a student's project.
In order to submit a poster presentation for consideration, please submit an abstract—up to 200 words—to Cassandra Kuyvenhoven (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Poster abstract submission deadline: Friday, May 20 th at 4:00pm. • Notification of decision to include poster: Friday, June 3 rd by 4:00pm.
Please format the poster as follows:
- Standard Poster Size: 36 inches X 48 inches OR 18 inches X 24 inches o Layout: Landscape or Portrait
- Materials: Paper-based (with matte finish or coated paper) or foam board (excluding tri-folds)
- Suggested information to include: Title of poster; Presenter’s name; Department; Email; Purpose of research; Method; Findings; Conclusions
- Posters from all disciplines are welcome and not all disciplines will necessarily follow these suggestions on information to include. Take a look at academic poster guidelines like:
If you have further questions, please direct them to Cassandra Kuyvenhoven (email@example.com). The conference planning committee looks forward to your submissions!
Paul van der Werf, a PhD Candidate at Western University, has started a web page devoted to the issue of Food Waste. In addition to pursuing his PhD he is CEO of 2CG consulting who perform waste audits and provide other services for municipalities and other clients.
His new blog Food is Food covers a wide range of food waste-related issues including his strategies for reducing waste in his own home, literature summaries, and his own commentary and insights based on his professional and academic experience.
You can also follow Paul on twitter @allfoodisfood.
There is an opening for the position of Campaign Manager for WRAP UK's Love Food Hate Waste Campaign.
For complete details on the position and the application process visit the official job posting here.
There's a rapidly growing trend for manufacturers and retailers in Europe and North America to divert their excess and non-saleable goods to charities and food banks. Starbucks is the latest company to make this pledge in Canada:
While these strategies are often lauded as a solution to both food insecurity and food waste, the steady increase in food bank use in the last couple decades suggests that food banks are not, themselves, the solution to food insecurity. They are a necessary bandaid. Moreover, these partnerships do little to discourage over-production among manufacturers and retailers.
Nevertheless, it is a relatively straightforward food waste diversion strategy. By increasing the diversity of the products that are eligible for donation, Starbucks improves the quality and nutritionally soundness of the donations.
A new article from Jamie Baxter, Yvonne Ho, Yvonne Rollins, Virginia Maclaren: "Attitudes toward waste to energy facilities and impact on diversion in Ontario, Canada" is now available in Waste Management.
Call for Papers:
Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG)
May 30 - June 4, 2016
Session Title: Ethics and Transboundary Waste Movements
(DEADLINE MARCH 20)
- John-Michael Davis, Memorial University
- Alexander Zahara, Memorial University
This session invites papers exploring ethical considerations of transboundary waste movement. Over the last decade, geographers of waste have demonstrated how discards move across various ecological, legal, and cultural boundaries: recycling and ‘Zero Waste’ initiatives move waste across national and provincial borders (MacBride 2011); plastics circulate transnationally through ocean gyres (Liboiron 2015); and emissions from incinerators climb their way through arctic food webs (Downie and Fenge 2003). Among other things, geographical studies have noted how the movement of waste matters, both politically and materially – waste and the consequences of waste are differentially understood and experienced (Gray-Cosgrove et al. 2015). Moreover, the varied stakeholders involved in managing wastes (e.g. industry, government, public and activist groups) often operate within competing ethical parameters, where the difference between right and wrong might involve balancing municipal budgets, tending to industry profit margins, or protecting environment and human health.
In this session, we welcome empirical case studies that critically analyze spatial patterns and local experiences of waste, as well as more conceptual papers that theorize and challenge contemporary understandings of ethics in waste movement. Submissions may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- Differences between and competition within formal and informal sectors of waste trade
- Material geographies of waste (e.g. e-waste, food waste, marine plastics, corpses, feces, volatile contaminants, etc.)
- Borders and waste, including: physical, ecological, political, or imagined borders
- Waste management systems and the ‘right to pollute’
- Transboundary legislation and waste
- Ethics and methodologies in examining transboundary waste movement (participatory action research, activist methods, ethnography, decolonization, etc.)
- Non-human geographies and waste
- The role of geographers in addressing environmental and social justice
Downie, D. L. & Fenge, T. (2003). Northern Lights Against POPs: Combatting Toxic Threats in the Arctic. McGill-Queens University Press.
Gray-Cosgrove, C., Liboiron, M. & Lepawsky, J. (2015). The challenges of temporarilty to depollution and remediation. S.A.P.I.E.N.S [Online]. 8: https://sapiens.revues.org/1740
Liboiron, M. (2015). Redefining pollution and action: The matter of plastics. Journal of Material Culture Online first: doi:10.1177/1359183515622966
MacBride S (2011) Recycling Reconsidered: The Present Failure and Future Promise of Environmental Action in the United States. MIT Press.