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Waste management research to feature at conference

Research by Dr Catherine Casson and Professor Frank Boons will feature at the Economic History Society annual conference this April.

The conference, being held at Queen’s University Belfast, will include a session which stems from a workshop hosted by Dr Casson and Professor Boons and is backed by the School’s Social Responsibility Fund.

Dr Casson explains more about the research: “The history of waste in medieval English towns has generated a significant amount of research, primarily focusing on its environmental impact, matters of hygiene, and the regulation of waste disposal. Some attention has also been paid to the recycling of materials, looking in particular at the reclamation of old materials like stone and metal.

“In comparison, there has been surprisingly little overarching analysis of the medieval industrial methods employed to cut down on waste at the production stage or soon after. This is despite the fact that most research about recycling assumes that pre-industrial societies tended to avoid waste and reuse where possible.”

The session, Dealing with Waste: Circulation in the Medieval Economy, will examine the different ways in which ‘waste’ materials or by-products were re-circulated within the late medieval economy.