Reassembling Rubbish is an examination of the issue of electronic discards (‘e-waste’). The research questions driving the project include:
- What is the ‘right’ thing to do with e-waste? Where, how, and under what conditions should electronics be recycled?
- How might a better understanding of the knowledge, skills, and creativity of workers in foreign markets, who re-imagine and rework electronics disposed of in Canada and elsewhere into new commodities, lead to a rethinking of electronic waste as a potential source of value?
- Is a system of ‘ethical’ or ‘fair’ trade in e-waste – which would include, inter alia, material and component recovery as well as repair, refurbishing, and reuse of machines – a viable alternative to the existing strategies of national and international legal prohibitions against e-waste exports from ‘developed’ to ‘developing’ countries? If so, what would such a system of trade look like and how would it be regulated/governed?
These issues entangle the project with a plethora of topics and themes associated with waste- or discard-studies beyond electronics. You may be interested to read about these themes and topics in our research magazine.