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Nothing is useless in nature: Delhi’s repair economies and value-creation in an electronics “waste” sector

Corwin, Julia Eleanor (2018) Nothing is useless in nature: Delhi’s repair economies and value-creation in an electronics “waste” sector. Environment and Planning A, 50 (1). pp. 14-30. ISSN 0308-518X

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0308518X17739006


This paper follows the return of electronic waste back into commodity circuits through widespread processes of reuse, repair and remanufacturing across Delhi, India. Tracing the movements of ?waste? from the scrap shop back into secondary use industries, I situate e-waste in India as operating primarily within economies of reuse and repair, rather than waste and recycling. Instead of managing waste, India?s broad reuse industries are production-based, maintaining and making new things out of a diversity of new and used materials. The production of value from used things is dependent on the e-waste trader and the repair worker, who see the potential for seemingly unlimited trajectories of multitudinous conditions and configurations. This view of e-waste from the repair shop (and even the scrap shop) rather than a recycling factory offers a very different rendering of e-waste and particularly informal e-waste labor in the Global South than is presented in policy and popular media. Building on scholarship on vibrant waste economies, I demonstrate that India?s electronic ?waste? sector is in fact a powerful source of value (and product) creation and call into question e-waste as a definitive ?waste? product and its management in a ?waste? economy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Sage Publications
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2019 13:18
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:44

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