Reassembling Rubbish: Worlding Electronic Waste by Josh LepawskyReassembling Rubbish: Worlding Electronic Waste by Josh Lepawsky

Reassembling Rubbish: Worlding Electronic Waste

byJosh Lepawsky

Hardcover | April 13, 2018

Pricing and Purchase Info

$123.71 online 
$124.95 list price
Earn 619 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


An examination of the global trade and traffic in discarded electronics that reframes the question of the "right" thing to do with e-waste.

The prevailing storyline about the problem of electronic waste frames e-waste as generated by consumers in developed countries and dumped on people and places in developing countries. In Reassembling Rubbish, Josh Lepawsky offers a different view. In an innovative analysis of the global trade and traffic in discarded electronics, Lepawsky reframes the question of the "right" thing to do with e-waste, mapping the complex flows of electronic materials. He counters the assumption that e-waste is a post-consumer problem, pointing out that waste occurs at all stages of electronic materials' existence, and calls attention to the under-researched world of reuse and repair.

Lepawsky explains that there are conflicting legal distinctions between electronic waste and non-waste, and examines a legal case that illustrates the consequences. He shows that patterns of trade do not support the dominant narrative of e-waste dumping but rather represent the dynamic ecologies of repair, refurbishment, and materials recovery. He asks how we know waste, how we measure it, and how we construe it, and how this affects our efforts to mitigate it. We might not put so much faith in household recycling if we counted the more massive amounts of pre-consumer electronic waste as official e-waste. Lepawsky charts the "minescapes," "productionscapes," and "clickscapes" of electronics, and the uneven "discardscapes" they produce. Finally, he considers both conventional and unconventional e-waste solutions, including decriminalizing export for reuse, repair, and upgrade; enabling ethical trade in electronics reuse, repair, refurbishment, and recycling; implementing extended producer responsibility; and instituting robust forms of public oversight.

Title:Reassembling Rubbish: Worlding Electronic WasteFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.69 inPublished:April 13, 2018Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262037882

ISBN - 13:9780262037884

Look for similar items by category:


Editorial Reviews

If there was a prize for the most charismatic waste, e-waste would win every time. It's constantly in the news and NGO spotlight. But what's the right thing to do with e-waste? Repair, reuse, recycle our old phones, computers, printers? That's the tip of the iceberg, according to Reassembling Rubbish. The vast majority of e-waste created in making these things travels across complex networks of mines, smelters, factories, and other sites. Lepawsky tenaciously follows every tendril, reads every report, questions every statistic, joins every dot... to leave us convinced that 'the consumer' can't solve this problem alone.-Ian Cook et al, Professor of Cultural Geography, University of Exeter; CEO of; cofounder of the Museum of Contemporary Commodities