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Brieanne Berry

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Ursinus College

Connect with Brieanne

About Brieanne

Berry's research focuses on systems of production, consumption, and disposal and the potential to create a more circular economy. Overarching themes in Berry's writings include the sociocultural dimensions of waste and discards, and the potential to address issues of consumption and disposal through extended product lifespans.


Protecting Waterways and Our Food Supply from “Forever Chemicals”

  • Cindy Isenhour
  • Jean Macrae

The Pandemic Dilemmas Confronting Thrift Stores

  • Brieanne Berry

Share Your Trash, Build Your Community

In the News

Guest on Maine Calling/Maine Public, June 16, 2021.
Opinion: "Furniture Banks: Here for Your Community During a Crisis and Beyond," Brieanne Berry, Bangor Daily News, June 15, 2021.
Interviewed in "Maine Thrift Stores Flooded With Costly, Unusable Donations," Maine Public Radio News, April 22, 2021.
Quoted by Nick Schroeder in "Mainers Giving Staggering Amounts of ‘Trash’ to Donation Sites and Thrift Stores," Bangor Daily News, March 24, 2021.
Opinion: "Scholars Strategy Network: What’s at Stake in the November Election," Brieanne Berry (with Anna McGinn), Kennebec Journal, October 6, 2020.
Opinion: "Bring Back the Reusable Bags," Brieanne Berry (with Julie Lamy), Bangor Daily News, July 28, 2020.


"Toxicants, Entanglement, and Mitigation in New England’s Emerging Circular Economy for Food Waste" (with Jean Macrae, Cindy Isenhour, Michael Haedicke, Travis Blackmer, and Skyler Horton). Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 12 (2022): 341–353.

Describes some of the complexities of solid waste management in rural areas - and the bind managers get into when materials they are trying to recover are contaminated.

"Sharing Isn’t Easy: Food Waste and Food Redistribution in Maine K–12 Schools" (with Ann Acheson). Maine Policy Review 26, no. 1 (2017): 47-58.

Initiates efforts to reduce food waste and address food insecurity in Maine’s K–12 school system, with an emphasis on food redistribution. indicates that schools produce substantial amounts of food waste, but little is known about strategies that schools employ to address food waste, either through formal policy or grassroots efforts. 

"“Still Good Life”: On the Value of Reuse and Distributive Labor in “Depleted” Rural Maine" (with Cindy Isenhour). Economic Anthropology 7, no. 2 (2020): 293-308.

Discusses the production of wealth through distributive labor in Maine's secondhand economy. Argues that paying attention to the practices, politics, and value of distribution is critical for understanding wealth in communities perceived to have been left behind by global capitalist systems, particularly as wage labor opportunities and natural resources grow increasingly scarce.

"Circular Food Systems in Maine: Findings from an Interdisciplinary Study of Food Waste Management" (with Skyler Horton, Hannah Nadeau, Taylor Patterson, and Shayla Rose Kleisinger). Maine Policy Review 28, no. 1 (2019).

Outlines the challenges and opportunities for reducing food waste in Maine through five distinct, yet interrelated, case studies. Focuses on how Maine might create and support a more circular food system that can reduce waste and promote the use of surplus food in agricultural and industrial processes.

"Maine’s Culture of Reuse and Its Potential to Advance Environmental and Economic Policy Objectives Cindy Isenhour University of Maine, Department of Anthropology, cynthia.isenhour@" (with Cindy Isenhour, Andrew Crawley, and Jennifer Bonnet). Maine Policy Review 26, no. 1 (2017).

Draws upon findings generated during the first year of a five-year interdisciplinary, mixed-methods research project designed to explore the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of reuse in Maine. Findings suggest that Maine does, indeed, have a vibrant but underestimated reuse economy.

"Linking Rural and Urban Circular Economies Through Reuse and Repair" (with Cindy Isenhour). Journal for the Anthropology of North America 22, no. 2 (2019): 112-114.

Examines the political and economic relationships between urban and rural geographies in the context of secondhand economies. Explores the relationship between rural and urban reuse economies and suggest how future scholars of rural North America might contribute to strengthening and supporting localized reuse practices.

"Rummaging Through the Attic of New England" (with Jennifer Bonnet and Cindy Isenhour). World Wide Waste Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 2, no. 1 (2019): 1-12.

Draws on an historical and ethnographic analysis of vibrant reuse practices in the rural northeastern state. Suggests that any effort to promote reuse would benefit from looking beyond purely economic rationales to attend to matters of place, sociality, and market relationality.

"On Qualitative Writing: Building an Interdisciplinary Community of Practice" (with Anna McGinn, Lydia Horne, Sandesh Shrestha, Brooke Hafford-MacDonald, and Sara Lowden). The Maine Journal of Conservation and Sustainability 3, no. 1 (2019): 1-15.

Describes our shared experience of building a writing community of graduate students. Weaves individual stories into our shared narrative to describe how writing matters to us and how it has changed our experiences and relationship with research.  Shows how narratives here have helped us re-encounter writing as a crucial research practice, and we hope that by interacting with these stories, readers will enrich their own sense of the role writing plays in their lives.