Waste and its reuse have constituted an important field of economic activity for most of human history, including modern times. While the collected articles of this special issue exemplify the significance that waste salvage had in mobilising resources in Europe, Asia, and North America in World War II, this introduction situates these cases in a long-term perspective. It explores the continuities and ruptures inside the structures, markets, and actors of the salvage business from late nineteenth century waste reclamation, including the sanitary era of municipal waste disposal, to the more recent era of ‘green’ recycling. It argues that we need to rethink waste’s role within business history by delineating four basic characteristics of the waste business: the moral economies that govern wasting and reusing; the informality of the trade and its operations; the trans-sectorality of the waste streams; and the reverse logistics of the waste salvage trade.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)