The invisible hands at work in the circular economy: survey of waste sorting in rehiring firms in Québec
Research on the topic of work is very rare, with the exception of some quantitative job creation projections. Yet, the circularization of the economy assumes a significant amount of human effort despite the technological advances—work that is often entrusted to marginalized populations. In Québec, there is an overrepresentation of immigrants and individuals with a disability within the sector, thus raising issues with respect to social and environmental justice. What does this sorting work actually consist of? Who carries out the work? Under what conditions?
The project aims to study the entire household waste processing cycle in Québec with a particular focus on the recycling activities of rehiring firms. Conceptually, it is rooted specifically in research on free work and dirty work and seeks to inform the debate on the public policies that provide the framework for the circular economy and socio-professional integration. From a phenomenological perspective, the research will document workers’ experiences, which provide important information to improve their working conditions.