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Nature Environmental Conservation & Protection

Canada's Waste Flows

by (author) Myra J. Hird

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2021
Environmental Conservation & Protection, Environmental Policy
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2021
    List Price

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From shipments of Canadian waste rotting in developing countries to overflowing landfills and ineffective recycling programs, Canada is facing a waste crisis. Canadians are becoming increasingly aware that waste is an acute environmental and human health issue – and a complex one, the solutions to which are often contradictory.

Canada's Waste Flows is an honest look at the production and movement of Canadian waste, from region to region and across the globe, and its consequences. Through a series of timely empirical case studies, the book reveals waste as less of a technological problem and more of a material, economic, political, historical, and cultural concern. Canada's Waste Flows demonstrates that Canadians are misdirecting their attention to post-consumer waste and their responsibility for minimizing it through recycling; waste must be understood as a social justice issue, and in particular as a symptom of ongoing settler colonialism. Through a comparative study of waste management in southern and northern Canadian communities, Myra Hird argues that we will only resolve our waste crisis through democratic engagement.

A critical and compelling book that will generate conversation and incite change, Canada's Waste Flows uncovers how Canada's role as a global leader in waste production and export is key to changing Canada's waste future.

About the author

Myra J. Hird is professor of environmental studies at Queen's University and directs the Canada’s Waste Flow program.

Myra J. Hird's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Canada's Waste Flows generatively redirects the reader's vision away from urban recycling and domestic waste towards the larger problems of waste contamination generated by settler colonialism, neoliberal government, and resource extraction in the Canadian North. Rigorously researched and tightly theorized, Myra Hird's compelling book demonstrates how waste is much more than a technical challenge for specialists: waste has become a pervasive geological stratum, an index of the Anthropocene, which poses urgent challenges for social thought and political action in Canada and beyond." Andrew Barry, University College London

"Canada's Waste Flows is one of the first attempts not just to discuss the challenges posed by waste in a municipal or national framework, but to connect these municipal and national politics to global events. Hird examines Canada's waste problems and their colonial legacies in a detailed and holistic way. A fascinating read." Sabrina Peric, University of Calgary