Source: (2009) Australia and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference 2009: Conference Proceedings. Pg. 294-304.

This paper provides a theoretical exploration of how waste is linked to both processes of commodification and to environmental harm. One recurring question is why and how waste is socially constructed as a problem. For instance, is the issue one of legality (e.g., unscrupulous businesses engaging in illegal dumping), or does it pertain to sustainability and the basic means of production that generate the problem to begin with (e.g., consumption patterns in one country that depend upon production of high levels of carbon dioxide emissions in exporting countries)? From a criminological perspective, the concept of harm can be mobilised to illuminate these and other issues. The paper examines the implications of commodification for waste production and removal, and the interface between the legal and illegal which contributes to the transference of harm worldwide. Among topics to be discussed are the status of waste as a commodity, the waste crisis and public accountability, the class dynamics that shape the practical mechanics of waste disposal, and the paradoxes and contradictions arising from efforts to deal with waste – as a commodity – in the context of climate change. The paper attempts to frame the problem of waste through the analytical lens of green criminology. In so doing, it broaches matters pertaining to harms stemming from the production, exchange, distribution and consumption of waste at the local through to the global level. (Authors abstract)