top of page

Waste in Commons ~ Act I


WasteInCommons is an idea, an invitation, a hope, a practice, an experiment…


to reframe our individual understandings and actions around ‘waste’ (in all its diverse forms and origins) by collectively sitting with, working within, and becoming entangled together in the many and complex entanglements that make ‘waste’.

 

Acknowledgement of Country

Our Principles and Philosophy

What is WasteInCommons?

 

ACT 1. Experimentation


And so it begins…


Our vision toward and through the complexities of waste is in fact a journey…one that we don’t have all the answers to (and for good measure). We therefore must start with what we know (or what we’ve guessed) in order to move deeper toward the unknown and the possibilities for something more. We also seek to act as a burgeoning collective of waste commoners by providing a space and a place to move together ~ forward, backward, sideways, and in ways we never considered. Through this unfolding experiment, we aim to discover what it might mean (and take) to hold waste in commons.


As expanded upon below, we focus our act of experimentation around the idea, the aspiration, and the ultimate shortcomings of zero-waste ~ as a local, national, and global policy aim towards the ‘elimination’ of waste and the preservation of our existing systems.


We live, work, play, and ‘waste’ in a growth-dependent, technology-driven society in so-called Australia that acknowledges the threats of climate change and socio-ecological collapse through ambitious yet fundamentally narrow targets of ‘change’ towards zero.


Aspirations and shortcomings for zero-waste stunt the advancement of radical production-consumption change by suggesting that recycling and resource recovery will allow us to continue producing and consuming as we are; when Australian lifestyles currently consume the rough equivalent of four and a half planet Earths a year (overshootday.org). Rather than focusing on issues of overproduction, unethical consumption, and everyday practices of single-use and short-term convenience, zero-waste strategies target the intensification of typical waste management systems that promote the guilt-free philosophy of out-of-sight-out-of-mind rubbish collection and disposal.


Targets toward zero are thus misguided and miscalculated. Downstream solutions (e.g. carbon offsets and greater recycling infrastructure) deliberately avoid change at the source of the problem. They maintain the failure that business-as-usual can carry on when business-as-usual is what underwrites the very equation. They prioritise individual attention when collective change is required.


Waste, as an evolving commodity, is forever enshrined. Energy, as a means of growth, is forever in demand. And goals of absolute zero are forever beyond reach. So what do we do?


As an experiment, we are interested in the extension of a ‘more-than-zero’, ‘post-zero’, and ‘beyond zero’ provocation within the realm of waste and production-consumption practices. Excited by the theories of degrowth and solidarity politics that position the problems of waste generation within the ‘green growth’ paradox and the individualisation of waste responsibility, we venture to reach for a more collective and subtractive approach to waste reduction by coming together, learning with each other, and exploring alternatives that already exist and those that may need creating (or undoing).


By assembling shared knowledge and action around everyday waste entanglements, we seek to expose first the complexities of the zero-waste equation in order to begin a path and project beyond zero. Going beyond zero is itself an aspiration, one that seeks to understand and overcome the intersections between waste reduction goals and their challenges such as individual control, purchasing costs, time constraints, legal regulations, geographical accessibility, and others to be found.


As an unfolding exploration, we do not claim to know the answers nor be able to solve the problems on our own. But we recognize the issues, in both waste generation and current waste practices, and are actively experimenting among ourselves to uncover alternative possibilities. By working together, we may be able to activate more proactive practices towards waste reduction and material reuse ~ with the eventual goal of creating our own unique ‘waste commons’.

 

Zero Waste Experiment


Targets towards zero-waste are possible, and practices and products for zero-waste are plenty…


But what is the difference between what it means to be zero-waste and what it means to break free from a waste economy? How can we move beyond zero-waste as a consumer responsibility and toward zero-waste as a way of relating? What would all of this mean and look like?


Through this month-long zero-waste experiment, we aim to provoke such questions and the birth of our collective intentions beyond zero-waste and toward something more. Filled with weekly themes and prompts for practice, we will explore the already existing alternatives, the remaining gaps and opportunities, and the pathways forward we can take for redefining our relationship to ‘waste’ and how to move closer to a ‘waste commons‘.


To hold a commons, we must first understand the ‘uncommons’...so we begin our adventures with a diagnosis, inventory, reflection, and reimagining of the here and now. Through these weekly processes, we will assemble what practices we already hold, where we want to go next, and the specific material streams and political underpinnings we want to (re)common.


So come along if you’re curious or feel the same, this is an open invitation and an experiment. The answers are unknown, but what we know for certain is that we cannot do nothing…


With that, we present WasteInCommons ~ Act 1. Zero Waste Experiment ~ Nov. 12 to Dec. 10 (and beyond!). See below for all the juicy, spicy details :)


To start, we will be mostly sharing experiences online on a WhatsApp group:

 

Calendar of Themes


Every week, we will be prompting some themes for discussion:

Week 1 | Where and what we are buying? ~ A diagnose

Week 2 | What are the remaining gaps? ~ Cooking and Reusables

Week 3 | Sharing is caring ~ Collectivism and repair

Week 4 | Reflecting back ~ Moving forward

 

Collective Resources


Please contribute to our collective resources file:


91 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page