2. 7. 2021

‘”Purely Ecological“: End-of-Life Vehicles, Recycling, and Morality’ paper in Biograf

Mašek, Pavel (2020) „Čistě ekologicky“: Autovraky, recyklace a morálka (“Purely Ecological”: End-of-Life Vehicles, Recycling, and Morality). Biograf 71-72: 3-24.


In this article, the author aims to address the friction and discrepancy between environmental slogans representing waste treatment in public space and everyday management of waste at auto salvage yards. The slogans are a reflection of an environmental policy closely tied to the economic lobby where economic interests might be hiddenbehind the necessity of responsive behaviour. Drawing upon long-term ethnographic research in both auto salvage yards and places where totalled cars are being dismantled informally, the author examines everyday practices of Czech auto salvage yard workers vis-à-vis the world of environmental slogans. The everyday handling totalled cars or end-of-life vehicles differs from the avowal of the environmental catchphrases. The overused prefix”eco” or the word “recycling” are surrounded by a magic aura of hope that covers up the main reason for recycling and waste treatment: the profit generated via waste management. However, auto salvage yards are places where one can find an environmentally responsible approach, which operates without any political intervention. The environmental awareness stems from salvagers’ strive for profit rather than a moral call to save the environment. The author argues that environmentally responsive behaviour emerges as an unintended consequence of salvagers’ market interaction.