Industrial waste sorters: An essential part of the circular economy in search of recognition

By Linda Gonzalez-Lafaysse


This paper explores the question of identity and recognition at work in the little-known profession of the industrial waste sorter. Based on interviews with staff at a waste-sorting center in France’s Gironde region, I will bring to light the activity’s identification with environmental objectives in spite of the paradoxes of the circular economy. What emerges is a discourse that legitimizes the activity and gives it meaning, as well as a specific professional culture. In this context, identity is underpinned by team spirit, which mitigates the difficult working conditions.


  • Waste sorter
  • Identity
  • Recognition
  • Circular economy
  • Recycling
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