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NI516 - The Dirt on Waste - November/December 2018

New Internationalist delve deep into the world of trash, waste & recycling; Brazil’s military dictatorship is brought to life with a cartoon about the life and assassination of fashion designer Zuzu Angel; and our 5000-word long-read looks at a forgotten moment in British immigration history, when the UK government contracted a passenger ship in 1987 to act as a floating immigration detention centre for Tamil refugees.

Back catalogue magazines to 2014 are available on request directly from New Internationalist - please email ni@newint.org

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From the environmental ravages of growing cheap cotton to the batteries of workers in exploitative conditions, there is a chain of misery behind the bargain. The costs remain mainly in the Global South, the ‘benefits’ mainly in the wealthy countries.

A recent newspaper report says 100 billion such garments are made every year. A chunk of this obscene surplus, after its short life with the purchaser, will not be reused but dumped or sent to be recycled in a place like Panipat in India. There it will be shredded and turned into the coarse $2 blankets that get handed out by aid agencies after disasters – which fall apart after a year. Now even this dismal recycling is threatened by cheap fleece blankets (essentially plastic) from China.

All this is a world away from the shop front. Where does responsibility for this mountain of waste lie – with the unknowing (uncaring?) purchaser, the industrial producer or an entire culture lulled into believing this is the order of things?

Elsewhere in this issue, we welcome back John Schumaker, who takes The Big Story’s focus on waste one logical step further in a chilling exploration of what consumer culture is doing to the human personality.

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Manufacturer New Internationalist
Values and causes Educational, New Internationalist
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