Through looking at the growth of international waste recovery and waste dumping in the 1970s and 1980s, this paper considers one aspect of the mixed environmen tal legacy of the oil crisis. The author examines discussions about waste recovery and waste dumping in concert with metaphors of “wasting” and “recycling” to look at how domestic U.S. economic concerns dramatically shaped economic relationships between the global North and South in regards to not just resources but refuse. This paper argues that, while there was indeed a growing awareness in the West about resources and resource recovery, more than promoting conserva tion, the oil crisis coerced cash-strapped developing countries into accepting the West’s excess waste. The ultimate result has been both ingenious and very hazardous “recycling” practices.
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