Author Archives: Carl Zimring

About Carl Zimring

I study junk and talk trash. Author of Cash for Your Trash: Scrap Recycling in America and general editor of The Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage.

A Future without Waste? Zero Waste in Theory and Practice. (New RCC Perspectives issue.)

The 2014 Rachel Carson Center workshop Whose Waste? Whose Problem? revealed many fascinating perspectives on the topic of waste, and now several of these contributions (including articles by Tian Song, Michael Braungart, Zsuzsa Gille, Jutta Gutberlet, Stafania Gallini, Herbert Köpnick, and me, as well as a roundtable) are available in the new RCC Perspectives issue “A Future without Waste? Zero Waste in Theory and Practice.”

A PDF of the issue is free at this link.

Now Available: Special Issue on the Industrial Archeology of Industrial Waste

IAcoverFresh from the printer, the new issue of IA – The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology (Vol. 39, No. 1 & 2) is available, and it is dedicated to the theme of industrial waste. Journal editor Fred Quivik and I were fortunate to get articles on mining waste, coal ash, arsenic, and automobile graveyards from Sean M. Gorman, Samantha MacBride, the team of Lloyd B. Tepper and Jefffrey H. Tepper, and David Lucsko, respectively. Fred also contributed an article on mine tailings in Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene mining district, and my old friend and colleague Mike Bryson and I contributed an article about the past and present of Chicago’s Bubbly Creek, which Upton Sinclair aptly described as “Chicago’s Great Open Sewer” more than a century ago.

As Fred describes in his lead editorial, “this special issue of IA is dedicated to industrial waste and what it can tell us about who we are as an industrial people. Industrial archaeologists typically focus analyses on the artifacts produced by industrial processes, on the equipment and skills employed by people to produce those artifacts, and on the complexes of structures and landscapes that house and support the full range of industrial activities. Careful industrial archaeologists also consider that which industrial activity discards, but such considerations seldom take center stage. This special issue of IA gives the spotlight to waste.”

IA_TOCOur colleagues in this special issue include industrial archaeologists, historians of technology and the environment, and sociologists. We also have reviews of several related books (see the table of contents for details.) The cover image is Edwin Buckman’s A London Dustyard, as featured in Samantha MacBride’s article on coal ash.

For information on how to order a copy, see the journal’s website. Thanks to all of the contributors and especially to Fred for inviting me to guest edit this special issue.

Brooklyn Book Event Sunday Afternoon: BF+DA Sustainability+Technology Book Fair

bfda-communal-spaceSunday afternoon, I’ll discuss and sign copies of Clean and White at the BF+DA Sustainability+Technology Book Fair (630 Flushing Ave., 7th floor) in Brooklyn.

Come and meet 12+ authors who have published books focused on ethical design, sustainability, technology, design and fashion and join us for two 40 minute in-depth conversations moderated by BF+DA Founder Deb Johnson.

3 pm Doors open. Book signing throughout the afternoon.
3:45-4:45 pm: Group discussion on sustainability and technology in the 21st century and where there are intersections that are leading more people to want to be part…or not.
Participating authors include:

Lynda Grose, Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change
Carl Zimring, Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States
Timo Rissanen, Zero Waste Fashion Design
Sass Brown, EcoFashion, Refashioned
Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, Smart Textiles for Designers: Inventing the Future of Fabric
Deborah Schneiderman and Alexa Griffith Winton, Textile Technology and Design: From Interior Space to Outer Space
Elizabeth Cline, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion
Ira Livingston, Poetics as a Theory of Everything
John Lobell, Visionary Creativity: How New Worlds Are Born
Luba Lukova, Social Justice 2008, 12 Posters by Luba Lukova
Meta Brunzema, Feminist Practices
Kate Black, Magnifeco
6 pm End of book fair.

The event is free, but please RSVP for a ticket at the link.

Clean and White at OAH in Providence

Buddy may be gone, but history goes on in Providence.

Buddy may be gone, but history goes on in Providence.

The Organization of American Historians holds its annual meeting in Providence April 7-10, and I will be there Saturday morning April 9 at 9am to discuss Clean and White as part of the “Technologies of the Environment: Race, Waste, and Nature” panel featuring papers from Ian Terrell and Denise Khor and comments by William Deverell.

Brooklyn Book Event April 10: BF+DA Sustainability+Technology Book Fair

UPDATE: The two sessions have been merged into one big session featuring all of the authors. See the event link for updates and join us!

bfda-communal-spaceOn the afternoon of Sunday April 10, I’ll discuss and sign copies of Clean and White at the BF+DA Sustainability+Technology Book Fair (630 Flushing Ave., 7th floor) in Brooklyn.

Come and meet 12+ authors who have published books focused on ethical design, sustainability, technology, design and fashion and join us for two 40 minute in-depth conversations moderated by BF+DA Founder Deb Johnson.

3 pm Doors open. Book signing throughout the afternoon.
3:30 pm: Ethics + Environment featuring Lynda Grose, Carl Zimring, Timo Rissanen, Elizabeth Cline and Sass Brown
4:30 pm: Technology + Fashion + Design featuring Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, Deborah Schneiderman and Alexa Griffith Winton, John Lobell, Ira Livingston
6 pm End of book fair.

The event is free, but please RSVP for a ticket at the link.

Discard Studies at ASEH in Seattle

Seattle_Farmers_MarketThe American Society for Environmental History meets in Seattle this year, and I am part of two discussions related to waste, technology, and the environment.

On Friday, April 1 at 10:30am, I will chair the panel “Ethereal Wastescapes: Rethinking the Meaning, Place, and Materiality of Pollution,” with papers by Sara Pritchard, Nina Wormbs, and Ruth Rand.

On Saturday, April 2 at 3pm, I will be part of a roundtable discussion on discard studies and history with participants including Martin Melosi, Steve Corey, and Peter Thorsheim. We will, indeed, be talking trash.