Biowaste: Experiences of commoning around community composting

By Marion Boespflug, Catherine Carré, Thomas Lamarche

Promoted in the Energy Transition Act of 2015 as one of the possible solutions for the separate biowaste collection and treatment for local authorities, community composting is gradually developing in urban areas. Bringing together individuals around composter can lead to commoning practices. This article examines how commoning practices around composting at the neighbourhood level re-examine the ways public waste management operates. It presents the singular place of biowaste during the historical construction of this service and how the recent development of separate biowaste collection and treatment systems puts it to the test of its contradictions. The commoning within locally based composting highlights different, “alternative” links between user and the public service and between user and local authorities. The article shows that this commoning is not without difficulty; many economic, human, or institutional obstacles can limit or extinguish these processes, which require time, commitment, and flexibility. Third places offer places for experimentation that facilitate commoning and reintegrate composting into a more global way of life. However, these practices on the fringes of institutional systems will not develop without the opening of multi-stakeholder governance between civil society, private operators, and public institutions.

  • commoning
  • composting
  • public service
  • biowaste
  • waste management
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