Accepted Paper:

Trenchtown: reuse and self-built in an ecological ethos  
Carmen Rial (Federal University of Santa Catarina)

Paper short abstract:

The study of waste reveals the flows between the global North and South (where the highest number of recycling initiatives are found) as well as alternatives to a consumerist lifestyle, as found in an experience by middle class ecologists in southern Brazil.

Paper long abstract:

The study of waste reveals social hierarchies within countries and between the global North and South, with long distance transportation that takes place on a planetary scale, which often makes the South a dumping ground for the North. Thus, some solid wastes from developed countries travels in large ships to Africa, Asia and Latin America, and are received as raw material by economically needy communities where most garbage pickers are found. The materials range from rare-earth metals removed from computers to dirty hospital sheets (like those from the United States that were sold in Northeastern Brazil, in one scandal denounced by the media in 2011). But the study of waste can express specific ethoses and visions of the world. This is what we find with the reuse of construction materials by a group of ecologists in Florianópolis in the 1980s. The process of self-building they undertook has a dual meaning, because through the choice of material to be reused, both homes and a new lifestyle were built, based on values alternative to those of the hegemonic consumer society.

Panel P14
Life after waste