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Unequal geographies of urban mining: E-waste management in London, Sao Paulo and Accra

Lopes dos Santos, Kauê (2022) Unequal geographies of urban mining: E-waste management in London, Sao Paulo and Accra. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space. ISSN 2514-8486

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Identification Number: 10.1177/25148486221128154


E-waste generation has been increasing on a global scale in the past decades, reaching the unprecedented figure of 53.6 million tons (Mt) in 2019 and raising concerns and debates around the risks, challenges and opportunities related to its management. Collecting and recycling this type of waste – activities that are encompassed in the term ‘urban mining’ – should happen under proper environmental and social conditions, to ensure that reverse logistic system and the circular economy become a reality over the globe. Through exploratory qualitative research, this article establishes a comparative analysis among the multiple actors – operating both formal and informally – responsible for e-waste management in London Larger Urban Zone (LLUZ), Sao Paulo Macrometropolis (SPMM) and Greater Accra Region (GAR). These case studies are the most dynamic functional urban areas (FUA) of their respective national territories and integrate the world system with different roles: the United Kingdom representing the core, Brazil the semi-periphery and Ghana the periphery. Findings uncover the broad spectrum of ways in which e-waste can be recycled and confirm the relevance of political economy for understanding the regulatory and technological aspects of its management in different geographic contexts. The article also suggests a reflection on the ‘urban economy recommodization’, a process that is adding new contents to the urban space.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author
Divisions: IGA: Latin America and Caribbean Centre
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2022 13:06
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2024 04:27

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