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The work of waste during COVID-19: logics of public, environmental, and occupational health

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Emma Garnett, Angeliki Balayannis, Steve Hinchliffe, Thom Davies, Toni Gladding, Philip Nicholson

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-640
Number of pages11
JournalCritical Public Health
Issue number5
Accepted/In press25 Feb 2022
Published14 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This project is funded by ESRC as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19. Grant number: ES/V005200/1. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


King's Authors


Waste has become a pivotal public health and environmental problem during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this interdisciplinary review, we move beyond the ‘coronalitter’ and ‘coronawaste’ discourses, which have come to dominate public imaginaries of waste, to consider less-visible dimensions of waste infrastructures and systems . We demonstrate how waste is coming to matter in new ways that offer opportunities for reconfiguring health research. By examining the literature addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on the geographies of waste, we shed light on how waste is being problematised and researched through logics of public, environmental, and occupational health. We argue that these logics structure understandings and practice, whilst drawing attention to the overlaps and limits that allow links across disciplinary silos and problem domains to be forged. Developing a multi-logics approach, the paper outlines a research agenda for approaching waste as a critical public health problem at a time of intersecting health crises.

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