Unsettling “reduce-reuse-recycle”: The provocation of wastepaper and “discarding well”
Journal of Environmental Education
Taylor & Francis
Centre for People, Place and Planet
This article engages with discard studies scholarship to interrogate findings from a study that set out to deliberately follow wastepaper in an early childhood setting. The study, which used participatory methods positioning teachers and children as research partners, began with purposeful noticing and attunement to paper’s movements and materiality. This attentiveness defamiliarized paper and the ways in which it is known and experienced. It led to questions about the wider systems in which paper is entangled. In this article, thinking with discard studies provokes us to consider the relational systems that involve paper in early learning settings and leads us to question the reduce-reuse-recycle maxim which allows some systems to flourish by diverting attention away from them. The article concludes by suggesting that if we are to discard well, we must become aware of systems that are maintained by taken-for-granted waste practices such as reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Merewether, J., Blaise, M., Pitchford, K., & Giamminuti, S. (2023). Unsettling “reduce-reuse-recycle”: The provocation of wastepaper and “discarding well”. The Journal of Environmental Education, 54(3), 199-212. https://doi.org/10.1080/00958964.2023.2179585