Recycling Food Waste: An Investigation into the Delicate Process of Bio-waste Valuation



For more than 20 years, Europe has been encouraging household bio-waste recycling. This trend is spurred by the promise of a circular economy built around the diversion from landfills, the regeneration of farmland and the production of alternatives to fossil fuel energy. It involves valuation processes, through which a value—both economic and environmental—is assigned to the material in circulation. This article investigates the nature of these processes, particularly the ways in which value is created within the chains of actors that make up these industries. Through the analysis of a case of source-separated household bio-waste collection, we show that bio-waste valuation processes are difficult to master. Due to the living, putrescible, unstable and relatively unlucrative nature of this material, valuation processes are fragile assemblages. They largely depend on the policies, infrastructures, practices and material conditions involved in the handling, care, transport and processing of food waste.


source-separated collectionrecyclingwaste recoveryvaluationeconomization policiesmunicipal waste
  • Year: 2021
  • Volume: 4 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 9
  • DOI: 10.5334/wwwj.73
  • Submitted on 20 Jan 2021
  • Accepted on 16 Jun 2021
  • Published on 20 Dec 2021
  • Peer Reviewed