PeriurbanWasteEng : Toward agricultural and food waste engineering in increasingly urban peri-urban areas: how to transform waste and for what uses?

PeriurbanWasteEng Consortium (2020)

PeriurbanWasteEng : Toward agricultural and food waste engineering in increasingly urban peri-urban areas: how to transform waste and for what uses?

Our consortium wishes to investigate the engineering of agricultural and food waste in a logic of circularity of flows on the scale of a large urban area, including the Saclay plateau and the plain of Versailles. We wish to explore the issue in an interdisciplinary manner, including 7 units from 4 INRAE divisions.

Context and challenges


Food systems (agricultural production, transport, storage, processing, distribution, purchasing, consumption) generate waste at each stage and in different ways depending on the situation and territory, and involve different actors: farmers, processing professionals, associations, households, restaurant owners and caterers, and ultimately anyone who eats. The corresponding carbon footprint is estimated at more than 3 billion tonnes of CO2 per year, i.e. 6.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions.



Reducing waste is possible “at the source”, by limiting losses and waste, but also in a logic of circularity of flows, by promoting the use of some waste as raw material for other uses. That is why our consortium wishes to explore waste engineering further by applying the logic of circularity of flows not only to reduce waste but to recover it.  A suitable scale to carry out such studies seems to be local territories, with a limited and therefore manageable scope. That is why we propose that this project be limited to Saclay plateau and Versailles plain. The question guiding the research of our network is: Toward agricultural and food waste engineering in increasingly urban peri-urban areas: how to transform waste (or not) and for what uses?

Responding to this question implies analysing the current situation and understanding the expectations of stakeholders and consumers. On this basis, we intend to explore the potential of combining two things: better recovery of waste (the idea is a domino effect rather than traditional solutions with little added value) and cutting back on waste (and therefore the associated impacts). With this in mind, it will take promoting efficient economic and ecological business models while taking into account how the system is organised (stakeholders; institutions; processes; relationships between the different components of the system; system scope, limits and interactions with the outside world).
The goals of this project are the following:

  • Build a shared vision of how waste management is currently organised and what the associated territorial stakes are.An inventory of available data (via current projects, actors in the field, etc.) that offers insight into the typology of agricultural and food waste, where it is found and how it is used on the Saclay plateau and Versailles plain; A synthesis of data to quantify flows and grasp the current organisation of systems and the associated territorial stakes; An assessment of the expectations of stakeholders, including consumers, when it comes to the issue of waste management.
  • Define common interdisciplinary research topics in response to these stakes, resulting in collaborative projects. To do so, we plan to organise innovative design workshops based on the KCP method, which has already proved useful in helping pinpoint original interdisciplinary topics (Brun et al. 2021)


Contacts - Coordination :

INRAE and non-INRAE partners

INRAE structures

TRANSFORM division

UMR SayFood                           

Processing and bio-processing procedures (food / bio-products), Eco-design
Process engineering – re-territorialisation of food processing, Eco-design
Sensory engineering, consumer sciences, food waste


Environmental biotechnologies, waste management and recovery

ACT division


Local governance of the circular economy
Environmental socio-economics
Sociology of Law
Urban metabolism /material flow analysis / analysis of food waste


Describing uses

ECOSOCIO division


Management sciences (regulatory models, public action, consumer/stakeholder expectations, forecasting)


UMR Agronomie

Agronomy, coupled innovations


Agronomy, soil sciences, effects of returning Organic Residual Products (plots and territories) to the soil

Antenne de Nouzilly

Insect genetic selection

Modification date : 14 November 2023 | Publication date : 06 July 2021 | Redactor : Com