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Garbage Wars

"In Garbage Wars, the sociologist David Pellow describes the politics of garbage in Chicago."


From the publisher:

"[Pellow] shows how garbage affects residents in vulnerable communities and poses health risks to those who dispose of it. He follows the trash, the pollution, the hazards, and the people who encountered them in the period 1880-2000. What unfolds is a tug of war among social movements, government, and industry over how we manage our waste, who benefits, and who pays the costs.

"Studies demonstrate that minority and low-income communities bear a disproportionate burden of environmental hazards. Pellow analyzes how and why environmental inequalities are created. He also explains how class and racial politics have influenced the waste industry throughout the history of Chicago and the United States. After examining the roles of social movements and workers in defining, resisting, and shaping garbage disposal in the United States, he concludes that some environmental groups and people of color have actually contributed to environmental inequality.

"By highlighting conflicts over waste dumping, incineration, landfills, and recycling, Pellow provides a historical view of the garbage industry throughout the life cycle of waste. Although his focus is on Chicago, he places the trends and conflicts in a broader context, describing how communities throughout the United States have resisted the waste industry's efforts to locate hazardous facilities in their backyards. The book closes with suggestions for how communities can work more effectively for environmental justice and safe, sustainable waste management."


Also from the author: The Slums of Aspen.


From the Reader, 2001:

"'Our account of recycling differs substantially from popular views of recycling as an activity generated by the goodwill of people who are trying to do something beneficial for society,' Schnaiberg and his coauthors, Adam Weinberg and David Pellow, warn in their book Urban Recycling and the Search for Sustainable Community Development.

"'Recycling has become a commodity-based, profit-driven competitive industry in which large private firms using public dollars are squeezing the life out of smaller nonprofit and family-owned recyclers. Some programs achieve modest economic gains but distribute them primarily to the private sector. Ecological gains are modest.' When the authors start talking like that about the most popular environmental cause ever, you know the story won't have a happy ending."


Comments welcome.


Posted on October 24, 2016

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