A Natural History of Garbage
(TEST 332)

Spring 2005, University of Washington, Tacoma
Michael Kucher, Ph.D.

Industrialized societies face an ecological crisis that challenges the existing model of one-way materials flow.  Spanning topics from "garbage" to "green manufacturing," this course will use an interdisciplinary approach to trace changing perceptions and practices regarding cast-off materials. Starting with theoretical questions regarding the nature of "disposal," we will retrace its history from the Stone Age to the Information Age. Along the way we will pay close attention to the economic, cultural, and environmental impact of waste disposal. Finally, we will use William McDonough and M. Braungart, Cradle to Cradle:  Remaking the Way We Make Things) as a basis from which to discuss possible futures of "waste" in a sustainable economy. Each student will write a 15 page research paper addressing an aspect of the history of waste management, garbage, rubbish,  recycling, or a related topic.
Borough Hall, Brooklyn, metal collected for war effort, 1941.  Scan Copyright Michael Kucher
Borough Hall, Brooklyn, 1941,
"Metal Drive for War Effort." 
Photo by George Malcolm Mowbray.
This image © Copyright 2001 Michael Kucher
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Updated: 27 March 2005
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