Waste Law and the Value of Food

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Environmental Law
DateAccepted/In press - 10 Apr 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 30 Apr 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jul 2018
Issue number2
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)311-331
Early online date30/04/18
Original languageEnglish


This article explores the role of law in an emerging consensus as to the causes of food waste: a structural failure to value food. Food waste's legal home is waste law. The sagacity of this siting would appear to be self-evident. If there is a body of law concerned with the problem of waste generally, then why not use that body of law to address the challenges of a particular waste stream? We should test this assumption, acknowledging food's importance and difference as a resource, and keeping in mind structural causes of food waste. This article explores the limitations of waste law through an imbalance in support for anaerobic digestion over redistribution; an imbalance which actively removes edible food from the food supply chain. By underpinning and validating this imbalance, waste law reflects and reinforces structural causes of food waste, rather than providing the analytical tools needed to address the problem.

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© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

    Research areas

  • food waste, waste law, anaerobic digestion, food redistribution, renewables subsidies, sustainability criteria, Food waste, Renewables subsidies, Sustainability criteria, Food redistribution, Waste law, Anaerobic digestion


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