@luka @crickxson yep, disheartening but eye-opening. Putting this one in Zotero for future referencing, there’s great quotes in there.
The language those industry spokespeople use, “it’s different now, blah innovation, blah technology, blah investment”… 🤮

@crickxson It's both fascinating and depressing to realise that there is simply not one single product with negative externalities that does not have a backstory like this once you start to unpack things. @l03s wrote about this when we were doing background research for a project.

"So there they are, the 10 strategies used over and over again to avoid government regulation of certain industries. This essay focused on the Eighties and on tobacco and fossil fuels, but effective as they are, other industries have started implementing the same techniques. The result is always the same: delay. Not only delay in government imposed regulations, but also one in the outbreak of public outrage resulting from the realization that lives were intentionally put at risk for the sake of corporate profits."


@crickxson Thanks for sharing! Max Liboiron's Pollution is Colonialism unpacks this story in amazing detail too.

They start their introduction with this industry quote:

"The future of plastics is in the trash can... It [is] time for the plastics industry to stop thinking about 'reuse' packages and concentrate on single use. For the package that is used once and thrown away, like a tin can or a paper carton, represents not a oneshot market for a few thousand units, but an everyday recurring market measured by the billions of units." (Stouffer, "Plastics Packaging", 1963)

@l03s @crickxson
Thanks for the links and references! Recycling is about the power of a metaphor, I think. The imagery (perfectly closed circles) was successful, not the actual recycling industry.

@l03s @crickxson @320x200
I read an interesting paper (in German) about the iconography of recycling, how it functions as a promise of salvation and how it just can’t represent the work of disposal, transport and sorting. The author discussed other imagery like trees, which also don’t seem adequate. Do you know of more ways how waste and its “flows” were/are visualized?

Heike Weber, Zeit- und verlustlos? Der Recycling-Kreislauf als ewiges Heilsversprechen, 2020 https://mediarep.org/handle/doc/15808

@jine @l03s @crickxson @320x200 Is "circular economy" similar, just a way to sell enviro-guilt-free consumption? My impulse is yes.

RE waste metaphors - Alice Eldridge has some brilliant work based on models of bio systems with refuse, death, and decay built in as sources of regenerative energy - https://www.yewtu.be/watch?v=eNCqoNxzY3Y&t=1330

@dried The author of the article I mentioned includes circular economy and cradle-to-cradle in her critique. The idea of a closed cycle/circle is an idealisation (tracing back to the Ouroboros principle).
Thanks for the video link!

@jine Rad, I'll have to try reading it. Thanks for posting it & the synopsis!

@crickxson "He says what he saw was an industry that didn't want recycling to work. Because if the job is to sell as much oil as you possibly can, any amount of recycled plastic is competition."

For as long as the oil companies run the business, none of the alleged changes can take place.


This portrays plastics as if they are one substance not a category of materials with diverse properties.

But it does hit on a vital issue: Recycling campaigns have focused on end-consumer behaviour, not the manufacturing lifecycle where the real change is needed.


While it’s true that if you simply substitute post-consumer material where virgin sources are currently used, it will fail, that doesn’t mean achieving circular economies is a fantasy.

It requires a system-redesign, reconsidering how we make things, material selections & then finally there can be good reason to campaign around end-consumers habits.

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