Valuing Rubbish

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'Rubbish has no value.' Identify the arguments for and against this view. Essay Plan.
Process words- Identify the arguments. (outline the arguments) Content words- Rubbish, Value.

Rubbish is the 'invisible part of consumption' (Brown, 2009, p103). The definition of rubbish via the dictionary is something that is 'worthless, unwanted material that is rejected or thrown out;' (Dictionary.com, July 2012). It is something that no one wants and 'ought to be out of the way and out of sight.' (Brown, 2009, p103). This is a normative view of rubbish, determining 'right principles for action and guiding people’s decisions on what they ought to do' (Brown, 2009, p105). From this definition, we could describe rubbish as something that has no value. Things can be valued for their usefulness and said to have a 'use value', or value can be determined 'intrinsically' by referring to 'how esteemed or viewed as worthwhile' something is (Brown, 2009, p105). Furthermore, there is an economic value of rubbish through price, and the idea of social value, referring to the benefits or costs to an individual and society. Value can take different senses, such as above, at different times and is socially constructed, therefore can change depending on social circumstances. Rubbish is inevitably linked to these changes. In this essay I shall attempt to express the process of devaluation and revaluation of rubbish, from a sociological, economical and environmental perspective, to express the relationship between rubbish and value.

Rubbish and 'waste is a function of what we do as individuals' (‘Rubbish society’, 2009, track 1) and is inevitably linked with mass consumption. Society and individuals devalue rubbish because 'rubbish has no value to whoever throws it away' (Brown, 2009, p118). The effects of busier lifestyles has lead to a more labour saving society, 'people’s time and labour become more highly valued,' (Brown, 2009, p112). This shift has lead to an increase of...
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