Resisting Garbage: The Politics of Waste Management in American Cities (Hardcover)

Resisting Garbage: The Politics of Waste Management in American Cities By Lily Baum Pollans Cover Image

Resisting Garbage: The Politics of Waste Management in American Cities (Hardcover)


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Resisting Garbage presents a new approach to understanding practices of waste removal and recycling in American cities, one that is grounded in the close observation of case studies while being broadly applicable to many American cities today.

Most current waste practices in the United States, Lily Baum Pollans argues, prioritize sanitation and efficiency while allowing limited post-consumer recycling as a way to quell consumers’ environmental anxiety. After setting out the contours of this “weak recycling waste regime,” Pollans zooms in on the very different waste management stories of Seattle and Boston over the last forty years. While Boston’s local politics resulted in a waste-export program with minimal recycling, Seattle created new frameworks for thinking about consumption, disposal, and the roles that local governments and ordinary people can play as partners in a project of resource stewardship. By exploring how these two approaches have played out at the national level, Resisting Garbage provides new avenues for evaluating municipal action and fostering practices that will create environmentally meaningful change.

Lily Baum Pollans is an assistant professor of urban policy and planning at Hunter College in New York.
Product Details ISBN: 9781477323700
ISBN-10: 1477323708
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication Date: November 2nd, 2021
Pages: 248
Language: English
An excellent analysis of our individual and collective consumptive habits that produce waste. Through her comparison of two different American cities, Pollans offers incisive commentary on the creation of urban wasteways…[Pollans'] work can help us to determine if we are (intentionally or not) acquiescing to the extraction–manufacturing–consumption–waste chain or transgressing and resisting it.
— Metropolitics

[Resisting Garbage] is deeply insightful, offering much for planning practitioners, planning scholars, and policymakers to consider. The book offers a cogent and hopeful rationale for planning, citizen participation, and innovative governance even as it remains firm in presenting the dire consequences of the United States’ lackluster performance in municipal recycling efforts and lack of traction in reducing the production of waste...The implications for planning and for rethinking urban wasteways in Pollans’s book are profound and worth reading.
— Journal of the American Planning Association

[A] thought-provoking book...a meticulously detailed comparative analysis of waste management policy in two US cities: Boston, Massachusetts, and Seattle, Washington...By demonstrating contingency and alternative approaches to waste management through vivid case studies and intriguing concepts, Resisting Garbage provides both a practical guide and a theoretical contribution to understanding and reforming harmful wasteways.
— H-Environment

Pollans’s book is a robust history of municipal waste policy in Boston and Seattle, with useful policy ideas for those interested in more sustainable urban waste policy.
— Journal of Urban Affairs