Photos by Annika Felder and Igor Vermeer
Found Diagrams of Plastic Waste Production
China's Plastic Waste Import Ban
Diagrams of Plastic Waste Global Market
2013–2019 Canadian Waste Export to Philippines Incident
Screenshots of Global Plastic Waste Data Research
Plastic Waste Import Data Pre- and Post-2018 China Ban
The Relationship is No Longer Garbage Film Stills
The Relationship is No Longer Garbage Final Film
The Relationship Is No Longer Garbage
In 2013 the private company Chronic Plastic Inc. shipped 103 containers labelled as “plastic” (HS3915) to be recycled from Canada to the Philippines. Two-thirds of the shipment contained household waste that was not suitable for recycling. The discovery of this mislabelled waste led to a six-year diplomatic dispute. Canada eventually repatriated 69 containers of junk in 2019. A spokesman for Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine President, declared that diplomatic relationships had been restored. The relationship between the countries was no longer garbage.
Junk has become a valuable resource for the production of goods, creating a global trade that is constantly adapting to changing legislation. In 2018, China banned the import of foreign waste. Now, plastic rubbish is being diverted to South-East Asian countries that do not have a developed waste-management infrastructure, creating potential economic opportunities and environmental disasters. In the past few months, a number of these countries have also threatened to ban the import of trash, emulating China’s stance against acting as a dumping ground for western nations.
Some believed that Duterte was using the trash conflict to score points against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he criticised Duterte’s human-rights record. Others claimed that Duterte was keen to be seen to stand up to a major, western power. Revealing the tensions and traces of the international trade in junk, Karin Fischnaller and Mar Ginot Blanco transform information from the UN’s Comtrade database into a graphic that accompanies a conversation between the President of the Philippines and the Canadian Prime Minister made possible through video editing.
Data: UN Monthly Comtrade x
Adam Minter, Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade (London: Bloomsbury, 2013).
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United Nations Comtrade Database Link
United Nations Environment Programme, Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (Basel: United Nations, 2014.) Link
“Waste shipment statistics,” Eurostat, January 4, 2019. Link
The Anderen is an Amsterdam based graphic and information design studio by Karin Fischnaller and Mar Ginot. In today’s complex world The Anderen create visual narratives that share the relevant information: stories, numbers, fiction. They observe, analyse, map and experiment to transform their work into innovative online platforms, publications, visual identities and built work among others.