Beyond Recycling critically explores unasked questions around recycling and its prominent position in contemporary thinking about sustainability. It examines and challenges assumptions about why we appear to have so wholeheartedly committed to recycling as a cultural project.
Recycling has become a commonplace notion and widespread practice. Yet its social, cultural and even environmental value has not been considered carefully enough. This book considers recycling as a contemporary cultural idea related to - but not wholly defied by - our response to material waste. It seeks to reclaim recycling from the environmentalists and waste management specialists, to explore the role it plays in wider contemporary discourse. As we become increasingly satiated, and in many cases sickened, by the excesses of modern consumerism, we are rethinking our relationship with the physical stuff that fills our lives. Dissatisfied with empty materialism, we seek new ways to reuse our material culture. Recycling, turning something considered to be waste into something with renewed value, is our primary collective response to the problems arising from consumption; and it is ripe for critical examination.
Beyond Recycling is a fascinating read for conscious consumers and students in the creative arts, design, cultural studies, sustainability and environmental studies.
Paul Micklethwaite is Senior Lecturer at Kingston University, UK.
Introduction 1. Language 2. Things 3. Symbols 4. Sustainability 5. Futures