Food waste and domestic refrigeration: a visceral and material approach

Gordon R. Waitt, University of Wollongong
Catherine Phillips, University of Western Sydney

Waitt , G. & Phillips, C. (2016). Food waste and domestic refrigeration: a visceral and material approach. Social and Cultural Geography, 17 (3), 359-379.


In this paper, we offer an embodied and material exploration of food waste arising from practices of food refrigeration and disposal. Inspired by geographers working with a visceral approach and calls within the discipline to evaluate the productive agency of materials, our framing brings materiality and embodiment to the fore in accounting for refrigerated food items recategorised and discarded as waste. Drawing on research conducted with 28 households in Wollongong (Australia), our analysis of refrigerating and ridding food orients around three emergent activities: placing, rotating, and assessing. Each section provides illustration of different ways in which affective social relations and subjectivities co-constitute embodied understandings and materialities of foods-becoming-waste. To conclude, we articulate the implications of a visceral and material approach for rethinking and addressing food waste.


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