Article

Environmental Impacts and Hotspots of Food Losses: Value Chain Analysis of Swiss Food Consumption

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Abstract

Reducing food losses and waste is crucial to making our food system more efficient and sustainable. This is the first paper that quantifies the environmental impacts of food waste by distinguishing the various stages of the food value chain, 33 food categories that represent the whole food basket in Switzerland, and including food waste treatment. Environmental impacts are expressed in terms of climate change and biodiversity impacts due to water and land use. Climate change impacts of food waste are highest for fresh vegetables, due to the large amounts wasted, while the specific impact per kg is largest for beef. Biodiversity impacts are mainly caused by cocoa and coffee (16% of total) and by beef (12%). Food waste at the end of the food value chain (households and food services) causes almost 60% of the total climate impacts of food waste, because of the large quantities lost at this stage and the higher accumulated impacts per kg of product. The net environmental benefits from food waste treatment are only 5-10% of the impacts from production and supply of the wasted food. Thus, avoiding food waste should be a first-line priority, while optimizing the method of treatment is less relevant.

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... Then, we converted cooked amounts to raw amounts, thus mainly adjusting the water content of food products. Further, we added factors to account for food waste until the stage of consumption (Beretta et al., 2017), with which we obtained food demand values from food intake values. Finally, food groups used in menuCH were mapped and aggregated to commodity groups used in the impact assessment. ...
... Further, not else specified categories, such as unspecified meat, were allocated to specific categories according to current shares in domestically available quantity (FAOSTAT, 2018). In order to account for losses along the production chain, food waste factors from Beretta et al. (2017) were added. ...
... For implementation levels 25% (and 50%), we assumed diets composed by 25% (and 50%) according to the Swiss Food Pyramid, and 75% (and 50%) according to the reference strategy. Strategy 3: Food waste reduction Food waste fractions per food group were applied according to Beretta et al. (2017). For strategy 3, food waste at consumption stage was reduced by 25% and 50%, respectively. ...
... According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), around one-third of food intended for human consumption is lost or wasted worldwide each year [1]. Many studies have highlighted the fact that households are responsible for high amounts of food waste in industrialised countries [1][2][3]. The environmental impact of food consumption, including its waste along the supply chain, often assessed through life cycle assessment (LCA), is substantial. ...
... Food loss and waste (FLW) along the complete supply chain contribute to 28% of the overall carbon footprint of the average U.S. diet [5]. Additionally, 51% of the total climate impact of FLW can be attributed to households [2]. This impact, caused by households, results from burden accumulation through the life cycle of food. ...
... Animal products-including chicken meat-have a higher greenhouse gas impact compared to most plant-based products [19]. In addition to the food product impact, its FLW is responsible for an increased burden, especially when it takes place at the end of the supply chain-i.e., by consumers [2]. Eliminating chicken meat wastage at households might be challenging, as the perishable nature of chicken makes safe storage difficult [20]. ...
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Article
Food wastage is an environmental concern worldwide, particularly regarding households. This study aims to identify household food wasting segments and to assess the relationship between both consumer and food product determinants and the identified segments. Data were collected through a consumer survey of several packaged chicken products (n = 256; 2019) in a retail setting in Belgium. Of the participants, 36% reported never wasting any chicken meat. The average waste percentages were small, 1.1–3.1%, depending on the packaged product, although they were not significantly different between products. Participants with low levels of self-reported chicken waste were significantly older, without children and/or unemployed. Moreover, their households scored better for household routines and skills. They also agreed more to intend not to waste food, experienced a stronger injunctive norm and perceived consumer effectiveness. Additionally, lower chicken product wastage was discovered for households purchasing organic products and products with both a lower food convenience grade and shorter shelf life. Some relationships between household wastage and food product determinants contrast with expectations based on literature. The cause can be that some determinants are more related to food wasting (e.g., when participants buy organic products) than others (e.g., the products’ shelf life).
... Likewise, 79% of Japan's blue water footprint of food wastage is from food imports, with over half of the blue water coming from just one country, the United States, and primarily consisting of wasted cereal grains (Munesue and Masui, 2019). Over 90% of the water consumption and biodiversity impacts associated with Swiss FLW occur outside of Switzerland (Beretta et al., 2017). ...
... The stage of the supply chain where loss or wastage occurs has implications on water resources. Detailed life cycle assessments from the UK (Tonini et al., 2018), US (Read et al., 2020), Switzerland (Beretta et al., 2017), Japan (Munesue and Masui, 2019), and Australia (Ridoutt et al., 2010;Reutter et al., 2017) point to water use and impacts of FLW largely occurring during the production stage, despite the majority of FLW occurring at the consumer level in high-income countries. In China, FLW is greatest at the consumer level and during storage (Liu et al., 2013). ...
... Birney et al. (2017) investigated the blue and green water impact of reducing FLW between 10 and 60% in the US and found that at the higher reduction goal each person in the US could reduce the blue water and green water footprint of their FLW by 36 and 220 m 3 per year, respectively. After evaluating several specific FLW reduction and reuse measures in Switzerland, Beretta et al. (2017) conclude that avoiding food waste should be the highest priority, while selecting the optimal set of FLW reduction measures is less relevant. ...
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Water scarcity is a pervasive threat to society that is expected to intensify alongside a growing and more affluent population and a changing climate. In this paper, we review the existing literature to assess the potential of lessening water scarcity by reducing food loss and waste. Existing studies reveal the scope of food loss and waste and its accompanying impact on water resources, thereby providing a foundation for policy action. We highlight existing or proposed food loss and waste reduction measures and review available evidence concerning their impact on water resources. Our review reveals that there is a deficit of research that can guide specific policy interventions aimed at mitigating water scarcity by reducing food loss and waste. Instead, the last decade of research has primarily focused on quantifying the current water footprint of food loss and waste for different locations, points within the supply chain, and food groups. Yet, the degree of uncertainty inherent in these estimates, their lack of precision, and several simplifying assumptions make it difficult to translate this research into robust policy measures to reduce the environmental burden of food loss and waste. We conclude by advancing a research agenda that will (i) quantify and reduce uncertainty through enhanced data collection and methods; (ii) holistically assess policy measures, including system level impacts and feedback; (iii) develop methods and technologies for transparent supply chain tracing. Together, advances in these areas will guide and ground food loss and waste policy toward reducing water scarcity.
... Losses across supply chains (e.g., spoilage), inedible food parts (i.e., the peels and bones), and moisture gains/losses from cooking require adjustments of the consumed food quantity to obtain the produced quantity. To adjust for losses (before retail) and wastes (at retail and by consumers) we used the supplementary data from Beretta et al. (2017) [21] on food loss and waste in Switzerland which includes "avoidable" wastes e.g., due to spoilage and "unavoidable" wastes e.g., due to processing residues [21]. If a life cycle inventory entry represented a product at the farm gate all losses and wastes across the supply chain were considered to adjust the value. ...
... Losses across supply chains (e.g., spoilage), inedible food parts (i.e., the peels and bones), and moisture gains/losses from cooking require adjustments of the consumed food quantity to obtain the produced quantity. To adjust for losses (before retail) and wastes (at retail and by consumers) we used the supplementary data from Beretta et al. (2017) [21] on food loss and waste in Switzerland which includes "avoidable" wastes e.g., due to spoilage and "unavoidable" wastes e.g., due to processing residues [21]. If a life cycle inventory entry represented a product at the farm gate all losses and wastes across the supply chain were considered to adjust the value. ...
... Losses across supply chains (e.g., spoilage), inedible food parts (i.e., the peels and bones), and moisture gains/losses from cooking require adjustments of the consumed food quantity to obtain the produced quantity. To adjust for losses (before retail) and wastes (at retail and by consumers) we used the supplementary data from Beretta et al. (2017) [21] on food loss and waste in Switzerland which includes "avoidable" wastes e.g., due to spoilage and "unavoidable" wastes e.g., due to processing residues [21]. If a life cycle inventory entry represented a product at the farm gate all losses and wastes across the supply chain were considered to adjust the value. ...
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Article
The first Swiss national dietary survey (MenuCH) was used to screen disease burdens and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of Swiss diets (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, slimming), with a focus on gender and education level. The Health Nutritional Index (HENI), a novel disease burden-based nutritional index built on the Global Burden of Disease studies, was used to indicate healthiness using comparable, relative disease burden scores. Low whole grain consumption and high processed meat consumption are priority risk factors. Non-processed red meat and dairy make a nearly negligible contribution to disease burden scores, yet are key drivers of diet-related GHGs. Swiss diets, including vegetarian, ranged between 1.1-2.6 tons of CO 2 e/person/year, above the Swiss federal recommendation 0.6 ton CO 2 e/person/year for all consumption categories. This suggests that only changing food consumption practices will not suffice towards achieving carbon reduction targets: Systemic changes to food provisioning processes are also necessary. Finally, men with higher education had the highest dietary GHG emissions per gram of food, and the highest disease burden scores. Win-win policies to improve health and sustainability of Swiss diets would increase whole grain consumption for all, and decrease alcohol and processed meat consumption especially for men of higher education levels.
... Life cycle assessment (LCA) [19] is capable of providing this information, and is widely used as a decision-support tool by retailers [20], food companies and policy makers [21,22] to reduce the carbon footprint of their supply chains [23,24], and sometimes includes the impact of food losses [25]. The recent development of LCA methodologies and dissemination programs by international and local bodies is the basis for LCA's increased use for agricultural and industrial food products [26]. ...
... The other output of the VCC simulations, namely, the fruit quality loss, was not used in LCA for predicting the resulting amount of food waste at this stage, but is a focus of our future research. Hence, the food waste amounts at different stages in the food supply chain are based on the average estimations by Beretta et al. for Switzerland [25]. The datasets used for the background processes of the lifecycle inventory are based on the LCA databases ecoinvent 3.2 ("allocation recycled content") [32] and the World Food LCA Database 3.0 [33]. ...
... For example, roughly 75% of the impacts of German food consumption are caused by agricultural production and land use changes, whereas the rest is caused by processing, transport, storage, and packaging. However, in the case of fruit production in areas with relatively low fertilizer and pesticide inputs, the impacts of agricultural production are much lower (80 g CO 2 -eq/kg of orange from South Africa) than for average products from more intensive crops and animal production (2900 g CO 2 -eq/kg average product consumed in Switzerland according to [25]). The impacts of the cold chain from Africa (especially transport and cooling) are much higher than for local products and products that do not need cooling. ...
Article
Refrigeration is vital in fresh-produce supply chains for minimizing food losses. However, it requires energy and impacts the environment. To optimize the control and logistics of postharvest cold chains, we need to better identify trade-offs between maintaining fruit quality and reducing environmental impacts. Therefore, we propose a novel computational method, by combining life cycle assessment with virtual cold chains. This holistic approach allows us, on the one hand, to track the thermal history of the cooling process and fruit quality decay of each single fruit in an entire pallet throughout the cold chain, using computational fluid dynamics. On the other hand, the carbon footprint of the supply chain is quantified. This pioneering method enriches life cycle assessment with more customized input data from multiphysics modeling, and at the same time assesses food quality evolution throughout the supply chain. Significant differences between ventilated carton designs (63 g CO2-eq/kg) and cold chain scenarios (11 g CO2-eq/kg) were identified, namely, 10% and 1.6% of the environmental impact of the entire supply chain, respectively. If solar electricity is used for precooling, the environmental impact was reduced by 55 g CO2-eq/kg of fruit (or 8.5%), while still providing similar fruit quality retention. By combining climate impact with the predicted quality retention, this method will help retailers to choose the most optimal package design and cold chain scenario to make their food supply chains more sustainable. This approach can be applied as well to life cycle assessment of biogas conversion of food waste, amongst others.
... Depending on the process, the amount of food waste can be relevant and the modeling approach adopted can considerably influence the LCA results. Beretta et al. (2017) quantified environmental impacts of Swiss food consumption and environmental impacts of food waste along the food supply chain. They considered 33 food categories, which represent the whole food basket in Switzerland. ...
... In terms of climate change, the food waste related emissions were estimated to be 25% of the total emissions of consumed food. In addition, Beretta et al. (2017) observed that food waste at the end of the food value chain (households and food services) causes almost 60% of the total climate impact of food waste, because of large food waste quantities at this stage and higher accumulated impacts per kg of product. Eberle and Fels (2016) assessed environmental burdens of food consumption and food waste in Germany. ...
... Environmental impacts due to only in-house losses were between 11% and 17% in the Eberle et al. (2016) study, being lower than impacts due to the out-of-house losses or impacts in this study. Beretta et al. (2017) reported 25% climate impact of the consumed food due to the food waste, which is significantly higher compared with this and other published studies [18% in this study, 15.7% in Scherhaufer et al. (2018), 15% in Eberle et al. (2016)]. Comparison of shares of different impact categories in different studies can be seen in Table 11.12. ...
... Food waste in Europe was estimated to be at 88 million tonnes in 2012, of which about two thirds are generated at consumer level (Stenmarck et al., 2016). Accordingly, Beretta et al. (2017) emphasized it is particularly important to develop policies and strategies that address food waste in households and food services (Beretta et al., 2017). ...
... Food waste in Europe was estimated to be at 88 million tonnes in 2012, of which about two thirds are generated at consumer level (Stenmarck et al., 2016). Accordingly, Beretta et al. (2017) emphasized it is particularly important to develop policies and strategies that address food waste in households and food services (Beretta et al., 2017). ...
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Waste-tracking devices are powerful tools to optimise kitchen processes and reduce food waste in food services. The present study investigates how using such tools affect the sustainability of a business in terms of environmental, economic and social benefits. By tracking leftovers from self-service breakfast buffets, the hotels in our case study were able to reduce leftovers by approx. 1,800 kg/year per kitchen, corresponding to a nutritional value of approx. 3.6 gigacalories/year. The kitchens further achieved net annual environmental impact savings of 6.8 tonnes CO2 equivalents and 841 PEF mPt per kitchen. In the absence of equipment costs, each kitchen obtained net annual economic savings of 8,317 EUR, meaning they could spend up until about 8,000 EUR/year on waste-tracking equipment and still be profitable. Thus, our business case provides important insights into how food services can become more sustainable and resource efficient through food waste reduction.
... On top, food waste within households is a significant contributor to the overall environmental impact of food consumption. The contribution is partly due to the accumulation of the impacts of the previous steps in the FSC (Beretta et al., 2017). Measuring this food waste can be challenging and often relies on broad estimates (Heller et al., 2013). ...
... In order to better understand the flows of food and FLW along the FSC, MFA is an effective tool (Beretta et al., 2017). MFA refers to the analysis of the throughput of process chains involving harvest or extraction, processing, manufacturing, consumption and disposal of materials (Ayres and Ayres, 2002). ...
Article
The relationship between consumer behaviour, food-packaging system, and food loss and waste (FLW) has often been overlooked within environmental sustainability assessments of food products. The aim of this study was twofold: (1) to quantify the food and packaging flows of the combination of four packed chicken products and four types of household behaviour using material flow analysis, and (2) to assess the environmental profile of these combinations through life cycle assessment (LCA) within a Flemish (Belgian) context. The household behaviours described different household chicken meat waste percentages and particular household actions (e.g. storage location). The life cycle stages entailed chicken farm, poultry processing, meat cutting and packaging, distribution, retail, consumer, and end-of-life. The impact assessment method was the Environmental Footprint (2.0). The food yield—the ratio of the food amount consumed by its intended user and that entering meat cutting and packaging—of all combinations was 79.1–97.3%. The behaviour of major wasters increased the environmental impact of the food chain by 8.4% compared to the non-wasters. The impact of the product with the worst score, i.e. diced chicken breast 0.5 kg, rose 9.6% compared to the product with the best score, chicken breasts 0.5 kg. In case of the major wasters, the impact of FLW was higher by a factor of ten higher than those of the packaging materials. The single score of the average Flemish consumer or weighted average was 2.3–4.0% higher than non-wasters depending on the chicken product. These results highlight the importance of including household behaviour, FLW and packaging within food LCA research.
... However, with regard to the sustainability of food systems, distinguishing between different product groups is of great relevance [15] as climate effects associated with production vary in terms of resource intensity [16]. This means that food products with lower waste quantities measured in mass might be identified as hot spots, considering alternative indicators such as the global warming potential (GWP), carbon footprint, blue water footprint, land use, biodiversity and ecosystem services [17][18][19][20][21]. ...
... Waste ratios vary from 1.0% for canteens to up to 4.7% for gastronomy (Table 1). Beretta et al. [17] conducted a mass flow analysis (MFA) based on various waste sorting analyses from Austrian and Swiss literature. The authors provide detailed meat waste figures, considering different meat types and classifying avoidable or unavoidable waste. ...
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Article
Food waste is a global challenge. Detailed information on quantities and drivers is needed to provide tailored recommendations for prevention measures. Current studies on meat waste in the Hospitality and Food Service business (HaFS) sector are rare, often based on small sample sizes, and seldom use comparable reference units. The present study reports meat and meat product waste in the German HaFS business sector based on structured telephone interviews. Purchased fresh meat and meat product quantities, as well as waste during storage, due to preparation and leftovers, are captured for four different market segments. Waste ratios referring to weekly meat purchases are analysed and compared between these segments, as well as on the business-type level. In this context, the authors distinguish total and avoidable meat waste. Absolute meat waste volumes are extrapolated on a weighted base for the entire German HaFS sector. Factors influencing meat waste are identified through regression analysis in order to derive possible food waste prevention measures. The results are discussed to provide recommendations for future national monitoring, policy instruments and research.
... One-third of produced food is currently lost or wasted during the various stages of food production and consumption [1]. Food waste is reaching tremendous amounts (only in EU more than 88 Mt of food are wasted), responsible for 15-25% of food system climate impacts [2,3]. In developed countries, the food waste occurs in a great degree at the end of the value chains (at the consumer) [1,4], . ...
... The European Commission (EC) also tackles food waste with the Resource Efficiency Roadmap, which contains the goal of reducing the resource input into the food chain by 20% and halving the disposal of potentially edible food waste by 2020 [5]. Therefore, it is impossible to discuss sustainable food systems' progress without tackling food waste at the end of agri-food chains (especially at household level) [4,2,[6][7][8]. Multiple research projects target the issue of food waste reduction, waste treatment improvement [9][10][11] as well as numerous policies and laws are set in place to deal with the issue on national and international level [12][13][14]. ...
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Preprint
This theoretical model-based study is aimed to answer an applied but system-related question, relevant to multiple current studies and general audience: Is it better for human health and the environment to consume extra portion of food or throw it in the garbage (for further treatment)? The question has deep conceptual roots and requires a holistic approach to assessing a few complex systems: food production, food waste treatment and medical treatment activities. According to estimations, there are around 3.05-7.2 Mtonnes of avoidable food waste generated by German consumers at the household level. Simultaneously, high levels of food overconsumption are also observed at the household level. Thus, more than half of all Germans are overweight and obese and a high share of them require additional medical treatment resources. The study compared the environmental impact of treating potentially avoidable food waste with current waste management system in Germany to the hypothetical scenario of consuming such amount of food by the existing population. The results indicated that current waste management system is more beneficial for the environment than consuming excessive food by German population and requesting related medical services in categories of global warming potential (0.128 versus 0.6-2.4 Mtonnes CO 2 eq.), energy demand (-21 versus 16-66 PJ) and water footprint (-1607 versus 13.2-53 million m 3).However, land use impact allocated to other healthcare due to food consumed by humans is 13-80% lower than current waste treatment. Another danger of consuming excessive food relates to accumulated risks and further increased demand for health services. Following years would worsen the situation, making a choice for “food waste avoided” diet unfeasible. The results received do not allow for a simple Sergiy Smetana 1 et al. answer on selecting more sustainable strategies of dealing with an excessive amount of food in every specific case. However, they allow to indicate preferable conditions for dealing with excessive food in model conditions, which account for health status of household members or group of people (population), nutrient density and amount of food, and time frame. Time factor is one of the key factors defining preferences for food-wasting or consumption.
... Supermarkets and consumers are some of the last tiers in a food chain. Food waste (FW) at the final tiers of the food chain can be responsible for approximately 60% of climate problems (Beretta et al., 2017). Around 10% of FW occur in retail activities and another 20% are caused by consumers (Wharton et al., 2021). ...
... The multiple case study methodology is convincing and robust because it allows individual case analysis and in-depth scrutiny between cases (Eisenhardt, 1989;Patton, 2002). A sample of supermarkets was selected for the study, considering that large quantities of food are lost at this point in a supply chain (Beretta et al., 2017). ...
Article
This article identifies and analyses green marketing actions towards reducing food waste of short shelf life (SSL) products in retailers to propose mitigations alternatives. The article is based on a multiple case study with selected supermarkets that carry out actions that emphasize the reduction of food waste. The findings identified that both conventional or digitized green marketing actions should be implemented in the following sequence: product, place, price, and promotion. First, products must be divided into items based on retailers’ brand and suppliers’ brand. Such division aims to avoid future problems with the items that bear the supermarket's brand. This division also helps to define the places, prices, and promotions of products with SSL items. Besides, the pricing of items with SSL needs to be dynamic. Careful attention paid to where offers are placed inside stores also contributes to leverage sales, and, as a result, reduce food waste.
... In addition, this great vain amount of food resources (Koester, 2015 andFAO 2014 andFiore et al., 2015b;Buzby and Hyman, 2012;WRAP, 2009;OECD, 2008) determines along the supply chain activities the increase of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, that can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years by determining a global impact, no matter where emissions were first emitted (Vittuari et al., 2020a, b;Fiore et al., 2017;Sala et al., 2017;Alemu et al., 2017;Cerri et al., 2016;Venkat, 2011). As a result, farms and consumers' approach and behavior represents a great contributor to global GHGs emissions, whose effects are expressed in terms of climate and biodiversity change (Beretta et al., 2017;Chaboud, 2017;Vittuari et al., 2016). ...
... A study conducted in Turkey demonstrates that the total amount of waste was found to be approximately 20 million tons/year (Salihoglu et al., 2018); while, in the United States, some years before, Buzby and Hyman (2012) estimate that the annual food losses value is almost 10% of the average amount to purchase food and prove that the main wasted food groups are meat, poultry and fish (41%). By considering calories per capita per year, it can be calculated that the FW amount is equal to 1,249 uneaten calories (Buzby et al., 2014b), while according to Beretta et al. (2017), food wasted by households and food services causes even almost 60% of the total climate impact. Furthermore, other authors (Van Der Werf and Gilliland, 2017) demonstrate that food waste generation is significantly "elevated" for North America, compared with European estimates. ...
Article
Purpose Etymologically, the word “loss” means to be deprived, temporarily or permanently, of use of faculty or an advantage. Therefore, when businesses and entrepreneurs suffer large amount of losses, they can be attributed to a non-effective and non-efficient way of handling assets. Consequently, high levels of bad management can be the cause for food losses (FL) across the agri-food supply chain, food waste (FW) depends on consumers' behavior in organizing food basket. Food loss and food waste (FWL) negatively affect environment and global economy. The purpose of this paper is to propose a holistic 4Es (Ethical_Equity_Ecological_Economic) approach aimed at better managing and treating FLW along the agri-food chain from upstream to downstream stages by addressing entrepreneurs and consumers' approach. Design/methodology/approach The work focuses on the definition and designing of three possible tools: (1) the implementation of a FL_break-even point model; (2) the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures including a scheme for FL critical points and (3) a consumer's tax FW declaration model. Beginning with these tools, the work tries to define a holistic model by involving all the actors performing in a strictly inter- linked system. Findings Approaching the FLW issue in a holistic way can ensure the involvement of engaged and productive people at work, lead to strategies and policies aimed at enriching consumers' awareness and entrepreneurs' management approach, and can address the handling of FLW toward Ethical, Equity, Ecological_and Economic (that means effective and efficient) paths. Social implications Monitoring and decreasing FLW by implementing the proposed tools from upstream to downstream of the food supply chain can certainly improve the reliability of firm production and investment decisions, and at the same time, behavior of people who feel to be part of an interrelated system. This can help to lighten FLW negative impacts on consumers' income and on pollution as well as indirectly on poverty. Originality/value This paper wants to make an innovative attempt to approach the FLW issue in a global and holistic way, while focusing on behavior and awareness of firms/entrepreneurs and consumers/citizens. In addition, the tools and approach defined pave the way for subsequent empirical works to follow.
... Some reports in the literature point out the importance that the livestock production plays in the FLW problem (Beretta et al., 2017;Alexander et al., 2017). Even though the environmental impacts of FLW are the highest for fresh vegetables, due to the large amounts wasted, the impacts associated with meat products are also extremely important, since the specific impact per kilogram is the largest for beef (Beretta et al., 2017). ...
... Some reports in the literature point out the importance that the livestock production plays in the FLW problem (Beretta et al., 2017;Alexander et al., 2017). Even though the environmental impacts of FLW are the highest for fresh vegetables, due to the large amounts wasted, the impacts associated with meat products are also extremely important, since the specific impact per kilogram is the largest for beef (Beretta et al., 2017). Livestock production is also associated with the largest rates of mass, energy and protein losses (Alexander et al., 2017). ...
Article
Purpose – The livestock sector contributes significantly to the Brazilian economy, but also creates many environmental and social issues. To mitigate these problems and help counteract the effects of the growing production demand, it is essential to address the prevention of food loss and waste (FLW). Therefore, the aim of the present study is to identify the causes of FLW, model their interrelationships and determine their root causes for the Brazilian beef supply chain (SC). Design/methodology/approach – 16 causes are analysed using an integrated interpretive structural modelling (ISM) and matrix impact of cross-multiplication applied to classification (MICMAC) methodology. ISM identified interrelationships among the causes and MICMAC determined the root causes of FLW. Findings – The ISM highlights the “Lack of transportation infrastructures”, “Inadequate handling”, “Poor operational performance”, “Variety of products available in supermarkets” and “Unhealthy animals and outbreaks of disease” as the most influential causes and the MICMAC classifies them as the root causes ofFLW in the Brazilian beef SC. Practical implications – The results provide fundamental insights for researchers, practitioners and policymakers, by exploring which causes are more influential and which are the root causes, thereby assisting the SC members in the definition of suitable strategies to mitigate FLW. Originality/value – This is the first empirical analysis of the interdependencies between the causes of FLW in the beef SC.
... We focus on investigating the influence of two opposing trajectories, namely: (i) continuous increase in per-capita generation of organic household waste, and (ii) the successful implementation of food waste reduction measures, cf. [47]. For these alternative scenarios, we assume +60% and −40% organic household waste (encompassing both kitchen and garden waste), respectively, relative to the current level (with unchanged composition and other sources of similar waste unaffected). ...
... In addition, the respective marginal values hardly change, suggesting that neither the optimal conversion pathways, the alternative energy technology substituted, nor the active boundary conditions were affected over the range investigated. These effects within the energy system are exceeded, however, by the upstream impacts of avoided food production if food wastage is prevented -an effect not studied here, but quantified in the literature, e.g., [47,60]. ...
Article
Domestic and imported biomass or biofuels used for energy purposes play an important role in many future energy scenarios and national policies. But both the realizable potential for biomass and the environmental consequences of its deployment for energy can be controversial. The aim of this study is to identify environmentally-optimal strategies for bioenergy, considering domestic biomass resource availability, the full energy system context, and a consequential life cycle perspective. We apply our approach to the case of Switzerland and three alternative energy scenarios for the year 2035, and compare the environmentally-optimal strategies obtained over several single-issue and one fully-aggregated impact indicator. From the optimal solutions, we analyze substrate-specific (i.e., per biomass resource type) marginal impacts of biomass supply and the influences of boundary conditions imposed on biomass use by the different future energy scenarios. Minimizing impacts on global warming, cumulative fossil energy demand, and the Swiss ecological scarcity method leads to near-complete utilization of sustainably-available biomass resources, whereas less biomass is deployed when optimizing for particulate matter formation, land use (biodiversity loss), and water footprint. The results suggest that increased deployment of energy wood (excluding forest wood apt for material applications) and manures would be environmentally beneficial. In contrast, substrates suitable for animal feeding should not be used for energy purposes due to the burdens associated with increasing the demand for conventional feedstuffs. The findings and case-specific recommendations illustrate the importance of considering a holistic environmental perspective, alongside techno-economic restrictions to the physical biomass potential, when establishing national (bio-)energy policies.
... Reducing consumption of GHG-intensive products (e.g., rice) and shifting to lessintensive products (e.g., corn or wheat) can also help to reduce GHG emissions (Garnett, 2011). Food waste from households and restaurants accounts for nearly 60 % of the total climate impact of food waste (Beretta et al., 2017). Moreover, local food consumption can mitigate GHG emissions by reducing distribution distance. ...
Article
Rice contributes significantly to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the food system. Previous studies mainly focused on emission reduction methods within the rice farming system rather than examining systematic solutions along the rice value chain. Organic and rice-fish co-culture rice are considered promising solutions for reducing environmental burdens. This study compared the GHG emissions of organic, rice-fish co-culture, and conventional rice value chains (including cultivation, processing, transportation, cooking, and waste disposal) with a cradle-to-grave system boundary and a new perspective from consumer dietary habits changes. The results indicated that organic rice had the highest carbon input, output, and net GHG emissions in the farming system, with 9.277, 9.658, and 0.380 kg CO2-eq kg⁻¹ white rice, respectively. However, the net GHG emissions from rice-fish co-culture and conventional rice farming systems were −1.682 and −0.393 kg CO2-eq kg⁻¹ white rice, respectively. Methane (CH4) contributed more than 60 % of the total GHG emissions of the three rice farming systems. Post-harvest systems, including processing, waste disposal, and transportation, contributed little to the GHG emissions of the three rice value chains. The cooking system was a relatively primary source of GHG emissions due to electricity consumption. Concerning the whole rice value chain, though higher consumption sustainability levels were assumed for the organic rice and rice-fish co-culture value chains, they were still carbon sources with GHG emissions of 0.770 and 0.147 kg CO2-eq kg⁻¹ white rice mainly from the farming system, while the conventional rice value chain was a carbon sink (−1.012 CO2-eq kg⁻¹). The results are similar to the functional unit of the capital diet. In this case study, organic rice had higher GHG emissions than rice-fish co-culture and conventional rice along the rice value chain, mainly from the farming system due to higher organic material inputs. Future studies should focus on reducing CH4 emissions from organic rice cultivation through sustainable soil and water management.
... Methods and data to cover further impact categories at the level of diet are of lesser quality. Despite this apparent research gap, the available literature suggests overall environmental benefits of diets with reduced animal foods -where meat is the single most important category to reduce (Nelson et al., 2016) -,provided the diet remains close to physiological requirements, that is, avoids over-consumption (Serafini and Toti, 2016), and that the levels of food waste are low (Beretta et al., 2017;Birney et al., 2017;Grizzetti et al., 2013). ...
Thesis
Social metabolism is the social systems’ throughput of energy and material, its application to cities is called urban metabolism. Quantifying and analysing socio-metabolic flows is crucial for sustainability policies seeking to reduce resource use and waste generation. Although it is a priority on the political agenda, the massive generation of food waste reported for high-income societies has been largely neglected in urban metabolism research. The aim of this interdisciplinary PhD thesis is to develop a method to quantitatively analyse urban societies’ food metabolism and its determinants with respect to food waste. The thesis’ main focus is on characterizing and quantifying the urban food metabolism. This quantitative part looks at case studies of the French capital Paris and its neighbouring areas of the Île-de-France region, in the year 2014. Novelty lies in the development of an accounting tool, namely a hybrid method of material flow analysis and a food system approach, in the definition of the eating population (surprisingly smaller than the resident population) and in the consistent compilation of various data sets so far unused in urban metabolism studies. The results show that the urban food metabolism of Paris and its region is characterized by significant levels of food waste. 19% and 22% of food, excluding drink, ended up uneaten and turned to food waste in the food supply of the eating population in Paris Petite Couronne and Île-de-France, respectively. Moreover, little food waste was collected separately from other waste and recycled. The consumption stage alone accounts for a significant share of food waste from both in-home and out-of-home consumption. Part of this food waste could be avoided, as it initially was food that could have been saved and used for human consumption, had it been handled differently. The urban metabolism becomes more legible when it is recognized as embedded in cultural practices and social institutions, another focus in this thesis. At the consumption stage, the literature review demonstrates that food waste is not only the result of individual action, but of practices shaped by broader societal processes, such as changing lifestyles and consumption norms in affluent societies. Inappropriately, current food waste reduction policies consider neither the systemic characteristics of the urban food metabolism, nor the interconnectedness between food and waste, nor yet the multiple determinants of food waste origin. Avenues for research include inquiry into how societies respond to the opportunity to reduce food waste, when the context is one of oversupply and perceived abundance of food, and a still largely invisible phenomenon of food waste. Cultural studies can help to understand how societies change their cultural practices and social institutions with a view to food waste reduction under a multi-faceted sustainability discourse.
... To compute the environmental impacts of individuals' diets, we referred to CO 2 -equivalent emissions available in the LCI from the Ecoinvent 3.6 database (Steubing et al., 2016) and the World Food Database (https:// quantis-intl.com/metrics/databases/wfldb-food/). We accounted for food losses according to Beretta et al. (2017), excluding packaging (Zampori and Pant, 2019). We refer to Swiss data sets were available and to EU datasets for proxies. ...
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Article
Food consumption is among the activities with the most significant environmental impacts, and furthermore contributes to rising health costs. We explored the factors that foster or hinder healthy and sustainable eating in Switzerland. Based on an online household survey with 620 respondents, we first determined the disability adjusted life years and greenhouse gas impacts associated with individuals' dietary habits to measure healthy and environmentally sustainable eating. We then relate the nutritional health and environmental impacts to individual's intentions, and explore what interpersonal and societal factors foster or hinder healthy and sustainable eating. Results suggest that intentions for healthy eating are stronger than intentions to eat environmentally sustainable and that intentions for healthy eating transmit better into behavior than intentions for environmentally sustainable eating. Males and females had similar intentions but males showed substantially higher dietary related health impacts with 12 min of healthy life lost per day and 14% higher carbon footprint than females. Furthermore, vegan and vegetarian diets yielded very high nutritional health benefits of >23 min of healthy life gained per person and day, mostly realized through the reduced intake in processed and red meat and increased consumption of nuts, wholegrain, and to a lesser extent in fruits and vegetables. Meatless diets show concurrent high reductions in the carbon footprint of −42% for vegetarians and −67% for vegan. A key obstacle to healthier and more environmentally sustainable eating is that people do not recognize the high nutritional and environmental co benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets. This suggests that policies promoting healthy eating can target factors affecting intentions, while measures targeting environmentally sustainable eating should aim at overcoming the intention behavior gap, by informing on e.g. the importance of reducing meat consumption toward environmental sustainability.
... The European Commission (EC) also tackles food waste with the Resource Efficiency Roadmap, which contains the goal of reducing the resource input into the food chain by 20% and halving the disposal of potentially edible food waste by 2020 (Usubiaga et al., 2018). Progress of modern society towards sustainable food systems is S. Smetana, V. Zuin and D. Pleissner not possible without finding solutions for dealing with food waste associated problems at the end of the food production chains (Beretta et al., 2017). ...
Chapter
The action plan on the 'circular economy' includes a number of actions in order to target market barriers in specific sectors or materials, such as food waste. Specifically, food waste is a significant concern in Europe: it is estimated that around 100 million tonnes of food is wasted annually in the European Union (EU). Food is lost or wasted along the whole food supply chain. Food waste reduction and waste treatment therefore are key issues, even in the recent Green Deal Strategy, which aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and decouple economic growth from resource use, while ensuring the long-term competitiveness of the EU and leaving no one behind. The new Waste Framework Directives try to address the problems connected with the definition and the distinguishing between waste, by-product and end of waste. The production of second raw materials from the food waste treatment process and the consequent definition of end of waste is a central issue. European Food Law establishes the rights of consumers to safe food and to accurate and honest information. Whenever the recovery operation has transformed the waste into a food stuff, those rules apply to the end-of-waste new food product. The EU has progressively introduced legislation on these issues. The relevance of the different rules depends clearly on the different kinds of food stuff which has been produced by recycling the waste. In the legislative perspective there must be clear definitions of waste, by product and end-of-waste in order to invest for long term research and business programme.
... Many research works have been financed to quantify the actual food loss and waste, taking also into account the ethical implications of that unnecessary waste [8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]. In order to define a future reduction strategy, the recent UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) report of 2021 on food waste has developed a food waste index [3]. ...
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Article
The Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 focuses on food and its inedible parts that exit the supply chain and thus are lost or wasted. This work addresses the food waste problem by presenting the development of a tool to design business models to reduce the production of food waste. This has been developed within the LIFE16 project iRexfo, coordinated by the University of Perugia. The tool aims at transferring the results obtained in a pilot region (Umbria, Italy) to 4 other regions in Europe. It has been coded in Python and has a graphical user interface (GUI) to insert inputs and display outputs. The GUI has been developed in FLASK and it is hosted in the website of PythonAnywhere. A case study on the application of the software is also presented, mainly based on data retrieved in the Umbria region, Italy. Together with economic analysis, also, environmental assessment is performed.
... Retailers on the other hand have to find an optimum tradeoff amongst inflated shelves to boost customer confidence and unsold food produce (Ettouzani et al. 2012) The contribution of beef products to the overarching issue of food waste is well documented in extant literature (Alexander et al. 2017). Although fresh vegetables are the hotspots of greenhouse gas emissions pertaining to their volumes rendered to landfills, nevertheless, beef has the highest carbon footprint (amongst all agri-food products) when comparisons are drawn on a per kilogram basis (Beretta et al. 2017). The raising of cattle also leads to the highest rates of losses in energy and protein (Alexander et al. 2017). ...
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Article
Food waste is an alarming issue pertaining to the rising global hunger, huge environmental footprint, and high monetary value. In developing and developed nations, it occurs primarily due to inefficiencies upstream and downstream of the supply chain respectively. A common factor in both developed and developing nations is product flow within the supply chain from farms to retailers. This study aims to identify the root causes of waste generated across the product flow of the beef supply chain from farm to retailer. A workshop involving twenty practitioners of the beef industry was conducted and the collected information was transcribed and coded to generate a current reality tree, which assisted in identifying root causes of waste in the entire beef supply chain. A multi-agent architecture framework spanning the entire beef supply chain from farm to retailer is proposed, which is composed of autonomous agents capable of bringing all segments of the beef industry on a single platform and collaboratively assist them in mitigating root causes of waste. The proposed framework will aid the practitioners in the beef industry to reduce waste, improve their operational efficiency thereby raising food security, economic development whilst curbing their carbon footprint.
... These resources include water [75-79]; land [80][81][82][83][84]; nutrients e.g., phosphorus [59, [85][86][87][88], nitrogen [60, [89][90][91][92], and potassium [93]; and energy [75,76,[94][95][96]. In this regard, particular attention has also been paid to circularity/circular economy [72, [97][98][99][100] and managing food losses and waste [101][102][103][104][105]. Some articles have taken a broader perspective and addressed different types of nexuses, such as waterenergy-food [75,76, [106][107][108][109][110][111][112][113], water-energy-food-climate [114], water-energy-biodiversity [115], water-land-energy [116], or water-land-energy-nutrients [117]. ...
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Article
Agri-food systems (AFS) have been central in the debate on sustainable development. Despite this growing interest in AFS, comprehensive analyses of the scholarly literature are hard to find. Therefore, the present systematic review delineated the contours of this growing research strand and analyzed how it relates to sustainability. A search performed on the Web of Science in January 2020 yielded 1389 documents, and 1289 were selected and underwent bibliometric and topical analyses. The topical analysis was informed by the SAFA (Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems) approach of FAO and structured along four dimensions viz. environment, economy, society and culture, and policy and governance. The review shows an increasing interest in AFS with an exponential increase in publications number. However, the study field is north-biased and dominated by researchers and organizations from developed countries. Moreover, the analysis suggests that while environmental aspects are sufficiently addressed, social, economic, and political ones are generally overlooked. The paper ends by providing directions for future research and listing some topics to be integrated into a comprehensive, multidisciplinary agenda addressing the multifaceted (un)sustainability of AFS. It makes the case for adopting a holistic, 4-P (planet, people, profit, policy) approach in agri-food system studies.
... Then, we converted cooked amounts to raw amounts, thus mainly adjusting the water content of food products. Further, we added factors to account for food waste until the stage of consumption (Beretta et al., 2017), with which we obtained food demand values from food intake values. Finally, food groups used in menuCH were mapped and aggregated to commodity groups used in the impact assessment. ...
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Article
While the production of food causes major environmental impacts and poses social risks, consumption of healthy and nutritious food is essential for human wellbeing. Against this background, action to make current diets more sustainable is needed, which in turn requires knowledge on possibilities for improvement. In this study, we investigated how sociodemographic and lifestyle factors relate to different sustainability impacts of diets in Switzerland using recent dietary recall data (n = 2,057). Of each dietary recall, we assessed six impacts: global warming potential, cropland and grassland occupation, social risks, diet quality, and diet cost. We investigated the association between sociodemographic and lifestyle factors and food choices as well as between sociodemographic and lifestyle factors and environmental and socio-economic impacts, and combined these results in a qualitative approach. The median impacts of Swiss dietary recalls were 3.25 kg CO2eq for global warming potential, 4.92 m² for cropland occupation, and 1.43 m² for grassland occupation. Further, the median score for social risks was 1.64 e+08 points (Social Hotspots Index), for diet quality 43.65 points (Alternate Healthy Eating Index), and 9.27 CHF for diet cost. Moreover, our results showed that any action on food groups, be it for health, social, or environmental reasons, potentially affects societal groups differently. Nationalities, language regions, age groups, and smoking status seemed particularly distinctive, while income or educational groups seemed hardly relevant. Further, reductions of some food groups, especially different types of meat, offer large potentials for synergies on multiple impact categories. Others, such as fruits and vegetables as well as fish and seafood, result in trade-offs. On the one hand, these food groups contribute to an improved diet quality. On the other hand, these food groups are costly, and the production of fruits and vegetables additionally poses social risks. Our results contribute to target measures to support environmentally-friendly, healthy, and social diets more effectively.
... Lack of data is also a major limitation to implementing policy actions in developing countries. While robust data regarding FLW estimations and derived environmental and economic impacts have already been computed in European nations (Buzby and Hyman, 2012;Beretta et al., 2017;García-Herrero et al., 2018), the picture in other regions of the world remains diffuse and uncertain (Vilariño et al., 2017;Dal'Magro and Talamini, 2019). In this context, Gustavsson and colleagues (2013) generated a report for the United Nations in which they provided average FLW rates for different regions in the world. ...
Article
Peru struggles to upgrade its waste management, with landfilling only just overtaking open dumpsters as the main disposal method. Despite the benefits of this transition, including reduced environmental impacts to water and soil, previous studies demonstrated that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions may increase if adequate levels of technological sophistication are not implemented. Considering that 58% of municipal solid waste (MSW) is organic, it seems plausible that a relevant portion of emissions can be linked directly to food loss and waste (FLW) management. This study aims to determine the GHG emissions mitigation potential in FLW compared to the current baseline scenario in 24 Peruvian cities, by modelling alternative technologies to treat organic MSW. Life cycle modelling was performed using the waste-LCA software EASETECH. Five treatment scenarios were modelled: i) open dumping; ii) landfilling with no gas treatment; iii) landfilling with landfill gas treatment; iv) landfilling with energy recovery; and, v) anaerobic digestion. GHG emissions of FLW generation proved to be substantially higher than those for FLW treatment. However, if sophisticated technologies are implemented in FLW treatment, an annual reduction of up to 1.56 Mt CO2eq could be attained. Moreover, despite the health and environmental benefits of a transition to optimized diets, in which, for example, meat consumption is reduced and vegetables are boosted, an important increase in FLW and, therefore, an increase in GHG emissions in the treatment phase is shown. However, if certain technologies, such as energy recovery or anaerobic digestion, were implemented, most carbon losses would be avoided.
... Food waste in Europe causes 190 million tons of CO 2 eq emissions annually (Scherhaufer, Moates, Hartikainen, Waldron, & Obersteiner, 2018). Most of the food waste is produced by consumers, either at home or when dining out (Beretta, Stucki, & Hellweg, 2017). The amount of plate waste is remarkably constant, whereas food waste produced in kitchen has been decreasing (Engström & Carlsson-Kanyama, 2004). ...
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Article
The harmful tourist behaviour of taking a lot of food from a buffet, but not eating it all, remains under-researched. This study gains key insights into drivers of plate waste. Observational data show that: dinner buffets are worse than breakfast buffets; the latest breakfast serving time is worse than the earliest; high-end breakfast buffets are worse than budget buffets. The first meal a guest eats at a hotel and the presence of children also lead to more plate waste. Staff offer consistent and plausible explanations for these observations, resulting in a comprehensive model of drivers of plate waste. This model offers a basis for intervention development to reduce plate waste and by so doing minimise environmental damage caused by the tourism industry.
... The European continent represents a third (20%) of the FLW generated worldwide [10], while in Latin America, FLW is estimated as 15% of total food production, which represents 6% of FLW worldwide [11]. Therefore, the generation and accumulation of FLW imply a significant impact on biodiversity, human health, and climate change [12]. For example, a 60% increase in greenhouse gas emissions [13] and malnutrition in the population are examples of negative impacts of FLW generation [14]. ...
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Article
The food sector includes several large industries such as canned food, pasta, flour, frozen products, and beverages. Those industries transform agricultural raw materials into added-value products. The fruit and vegetable industry is the largest and fastest-growing segment of the world agricultural production market, which commercialize various products such as juices, jams, and dehydrated products, followed by the cereal industry products such as chocolate, beer, and vegetable oils are produced. Similarly, the root and tuber industry produces flours and starches essential for the daily diet due to their high carbohydrate content. However, the processing of these foods generates a large amount of waste several times improperly disposed of in landfills. Due to the increase in the world’s population, the indiscriminate use of natural resources generates waste and food supply limitations due to the scarcity of resources, increasing hunger worldwide. The circular economy offers various tools for raising awareness for the recovery of waste, one of the best alternatives to mitigate the excessive consumption of raw materials and reduce waste. The loss and waste of food as a raw material offers bioactive compounds, enzymes, and nutrients that add value to the food cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. This paper systematically reviewed literature with different food loss and waste by-products as animal feed, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical products that strongly contribute to the paradigm shift to a circular economy. Additionally, this review compiles studies related to the integral recovery of by-products from the processing of fruits, vegetables, tubers, cereals, and legumes from the food industry, with the potential in SARS-CoV-2 disease and bacterial diseases treatment.
... The local recycling and valorization of the organic fraction of household waste (OFHW) as a fertilizer product holds a potential to contribute to climate change mitigation by long-term soil carbon sequestration and energy recovery, as well as to increased nutrient cycling in the agri-food system [1]. This issue has generally been tackled from a waste management perspective, as in [2][3][4], or been focused on specific biotechnological or agricultural aspects such as anaerobic digestion or soil processes [5][6][7][8][9]. A synthesis, in a simple yet practicable model to trace key mass flows associated with the production of organic fertilizer from OFHW-(biogenic) carbon, plant nutrients, pollutants-and to give an indication of the viability and potential benefits of the end product, remains an open and pertinent issue in the opinion of the authors. ...
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Article
What are the effects, measured as flows of biogenic carbon, plant nutrients, and pollutants, of moving organic waste up the waste hierarchy? We present a case study of Denmark, where most of the organic fraction of household waste (OFHW) is incinerated, with ongoing efforts to increase bio-waste recycling. In this study, one-third of the OFHW produced in North Zealand, Denmark, is diverted away from incineration, according to the Danish Waste Resource Plan 2013-2018. Co-digestion of OFHW, and digestate application on agricultural soil, utilizes biogenic carbon, first for energy conversion, and the remainder for long-term soil sequestration, with additional benefits for plant nutrient composition by increasing the N:P ratio in the digestate. We show a dynamic model of the biogenic carbon flows in a mix of OFHW co-digested with livestock manure and sewage sludge, addressing the contribution of OFHW to long-term carbon sequestration compared to other agricultural residues and bio-wastes over a time span of 100 years. In addition, we trace the associated annual nutrient and cadmium loads to the topsoil. At constant annual input rates and management practices, a diversion of 33% of OFHW would result in an increased organic carbon build-up of approximately 4% over the current amounts applied. The addition of OFHW, moreover, beneficially adjusts the N:P ratio of the digestate mix upwards, albeit without reaching an ideally high ratio by that measure alone. Cd loads from OFHW remain well below regulatory limits.
... According to Scherhaufer et al. (2018), food waste in Europe contributes approximately 15-16% to the environmental impact of the entire food value chain and causes the emission of greenhouse gases: approximately 186 million tons of CO 2 equivalents per year. Because most food waste in Europe is generated at the consumer level, policies and strategies to reduce the food waste of households and food services are necessary (Beretta et al., 2017). ...
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Article
In recent years, a growing number of investigations have examined food waste in the food service sector, in which the catering of individual events received little attention. We aimed to contribute to fill this knowledge gap by presenting insights from a case study based on data from 239 event caterings. The case study presents findings about the influences of four variables, namely event type, season, event size, and menu prices, on buffet leftovers. We used a waste tracking system that allowed kitchen staff to quantify buffet leftovers for 4 years: from the beginning of 2014 until the end of 2017. Among the studied variables, the event size demonstrated the strongest influence on the generation of buffet leftovers in the case study. Buffet leftovers showed a trend of decreasing quantities relative to the number of guests for increasing event sizes. For instance, smaller events with less than 100 participants recorded the highest quantities of approximately 280 g of buffet leftovers per guest, and larger events of more than 500 participants recorded the lowest quantities of approximately 74 g per guest. In addition, we found that three food product groups—meat & poultry, finger food, and side dishes—caused approximately 54% of the overall quantity of buffet leftovers and approximately 65% of the corresponding monetary equivalents. Our findings emphasize that further research is necessary on food waste reduction strategies.
... To prioritize specific interventions, it is vital to quantify the potential environmental benefit of interventions that target different stages of the supply chain (Garrone et al., 2014). Only by analyzing effects along the supply chain (Beretta et al., 2017) can we determine the system-wide impact of individual efforts to reduce FLW . ...
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Article
Reducing food loss and waste (FLW) is widely recognized as an important lever for lowering the environmental impacts of food systems. The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda includes a goal to reduce FLW by 50% by 2030. Given differences in resource inputs along the food supply chain (FSC), the environmental benefits of FLW reduction will vary by stage of the FSC. Here, we identify the points along the supply chain where a 50% FLW reduction could yield the largest potential environmental benefits, assuming that decreases in consumption propagate back up the supply chain to reduce production. We use an environmentally extended input-output (EEIO) model combined with data on rates of FLW to calculate the scale of the total environmental impacts of the U.S. food system resulting from lost or wasted food. We evaluate the maximum potential environmental benefit resulting from 50% FLW reduction at all possible combinations of six supply chain stages (agricultural production, food processing, distribution/retail, restaurant foodservice, institutional foodservice, and households). We find that FLW reduction efforts should target the foodservice (restaurant) sector, food processing sector, and household consumption. Halving FLW in the foodservice sector has the highest potential to reduce greenhouse gas output and energy use. Halving FLW in the food processing sector could reduce the most land use and eutrophication potential, and reducing household consumption waste could avert the most water consumption. In contrast, FLW reduction at the retail, institutional foodservice, and farm level averts less environmental impact. Our findings may help determine optimal investment in FLW reduction strategies.
... The way it is spent, will greatly affect the environmental benefits from preventing the food ending up as waste. In case the money is spent on more environmentally damaging food and nonfood products and/or services, the final benefits from food waste reduction are offset, which is called the rebound effect (Rutten et al., 2013;Bernstad Saraiva Schott and Cánovas, 2015;WRAP, 2015;Martinez-Sanchez et al., 2016;Teuber and Jensen, 2016;Beretta et al., 2017;Salemdeeb et al., 2017;Cristóbal et al., 2018;Wunder et al., 2019). ...
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Article
The last few years, a lot of measures addressing food waste have been proposed and implemented. Recent literature reviews call for more evidence on the effectiveness or food waste reduction potential of these measures. Furthermore, very few information is available on the extent to which food waste measures have been evaluated based on their economic, environmental and social performance. This review closes this knowledge gap by looking at the methodologies currently used in literature to evaluate food waste prevention measures, using a pre-defined assessment framework with quantitative evaluation criteria. In total, evaluations were examined for 25 implemented measures with measured outcomes and 23 proposed measures with projected outcomes. The paper concludes that there is a great variety in how an evaluation is performed. Additionally, in many cases, economic, environmental or social assessments are incomplete or missing, and efficiency is only seldom calculated. This is particularly true for implemented measures whereas proposed measures with projected outcomes tend to have a more thorough evaluation. This hampers practitioners and decision-makers to see which measures have worked in the past, and which ones to prioritise in the future. Moreover, more complete information on the effectiveness and efficiency of measures would make incentives for reducing food waste at various levels along the food chain more visible. At European level, work is ongoing on the development of a reporting framework to evaluate food waste actions. This paper complements these efforts by providing an overview of the current gaps in evaluation methodologies found in literature regarding food waste prevention measures within EU and beyond. [Journal: Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems]
... Parfitt et al. (2010) identified quantification of FLW and potential reduction methods as a significant challenge and knowledge gap. Some literature has begun to address this knowledge gap, including embedded GHG emissions from global FLW (Porter et al., 2016), food waste for typical foods consumed in Switzerland (Beretta et al., 2017), life cycle analysis of vegetable supply chains in Japan (Wakiyama et al., 2019) and GHG emissions for U.S diets and related food loss (Heller and Keoleian, 2015). For developing world contexts, this knowledge gap largely remains unanswered. ...
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Article
Food loss and waste (FLW) reduce food available for consumption and increase the environmental burden of production. Reducing FLW increases agricultural and value-chain productivity and may reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with feeding the global population. Although studies of interventions that reduce FLW exist, almost no research systematically investigates FLW interventions across multiple value chains or countries, most likely due to challenges in collecting and synthesizing data and estimates, let alone estimating greenhouse gas emissions. Our research team investigated changes in FLW in projects supported by the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. This was a unique opportunity to conduct ex-ante estimates of the impacts of FLW interventions across 20 value chains in 12 countries, based on project documents and interviews with USAID and project staff. This paper describes specific interventions in each value chain and country context, providing insight to interventions that decrease FLW at multiple points along food value chains, from upstream producer-dominated stages to downstream consumer-dominated stages. Amongst the sub-sectors studied, FLW interventions directed at extensive dairy systems could decrease FLW by 4–10%, providing meaningful greenhouse gas mitigation, since these systems are both emission-intensive and experience high FLW. More modest emissions reductions were found for other key agricultural products, including maize, rice, vegetables, fruits and market goods.
... Vgl.Beretta et al. 2017 ...
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Research
Der dritte Bericht befasst sich in den Beiträgen mit der Weiterentwicklung von Schulverpflegung. So besteimmt u.a. die Zusammensetzung von Speisen und Abfällen, wie groß ihre Umweltauswirkungen sind. Deshalb sollte neben der Abfallvermeidung auch Wert auf umweltfreundlichere Zutaten und Menüs gelegt werden. Für nachhaltigere Verpflegungsangebote bedarf es professioneller Unterstützung. Verpflegungsbeauftragte können als verantwortliche und fachlich versierte Koordinatoren vor Ort eine solche Entwicklung forcieren. Öffentliche Ausschreibungen sind eine wichtige Grundlage für abfallarme, umweltfreundlichere Speisenangebote. Die rechtskonforme und praxistaugliche Gestaltung von Ausschreibung, Leistungsverzeichnis und Vertragsvergabe durch Träger bzw. Beschaffungsstellen haben dabei eine hohe Bedeutung.
... The research on food waste has been diverse. To date, the relevant publications have mainly been focused on understanding consumer behavior (e.g., [12][13][14][15]) or quantifying the generated volume of food waste (e.g., [16][17][18]) and its associated environmental or economic impact (e.g., [16,[19][20][21]). However, there is still considerable room for advancement. ...
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Article
Addressing the generation of food waste is a major challenge nowadays. An increasing interest in studying food waste generation has emerged over the last decade. However, little attention has been devoted to understanding the root of the problem by carrying out a whole-supply-chain analysis and applying multidimensional approaches. The aim of this paper was to identify the causes of food waste in the metropolitan region of Barcelona along the food supply chain, considering the relevant stakeholders’ perceptions. Moreover, we examined the circumstantial or structural nature of the identified causes. We conducted a qualitative study consisting of 24 in-depth interviews of key stakeholders in the region along the food supply chain from October 2014 to January 2015. The interviews were analyzed by content analysis, and the main results are presented here. We used a conceptual framework that differentiates among micro, meso, and macro causes to disentangle the nature of the causes. The results from this study show the great interest of regional stakeholders in the issue of the generation of food waste and provide a complete map of the causes of food waste in the metropolitan region. From our study, we advocate that food waste is not only a sum of incidentals but it a structural problem.
Article
Eco-compensation can promote sustainable food waste management alternatives. However, a comprehensive quantification method is not yet available. This study proposed a method to quantify the eco-compensation for food waste management through environmental and economic life cycle cost-benefit analysis. This method was tested with four food waste management alternatives in Suzhou, China, including Biological Drying + Aerobic Composting (BDAC), Anaerobic Fermentation (AF), Anaerobic Fermentation + Digestate Composting (AFDC), and INcineration (IN). According to the method, the environmental benefits (net positive externalities) and the economic loss (net negative internalities) could provide references to the government and the food waste producers (polluters), respectively, as eco-compensations for food waste disposal plants. The results suggest that AFDC (with higher energy and material recovery level) was the most environmentally and economically viable food waste management alternative. The AFDC exhibited the highest net environmental benefits (CNY t⁻¹) of 844, followed by BDAC (596), IN (449), and AF (356). The net economic profit (CNY t⁻¹) without subsidy of AFDC (55) was the highest, followed by IN (−5), AF (−27), and BDAC (−422). The total values of eco-compensations by the government and the polluters were 564, 101, 0, and 57 CNY t⁻¹ for BDAC, AF, AFDC, and IN, respectively. The proposed methods for food waste disposal management can promote the effective and efficient use of government funds for the sustainable development of the food waste management sector.
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Within the context of the circular economy, this article analyses how supermarkets can reduce food waste by implementing appropriate marketing strategies underpinned by digital technologies, such as Big Data predictive analytics. Little is currently known of the potential role of the emerging digital technologies in furthering the sustainability of supermarket chains in emerging economies. Thus, an original multiple case study has been conducted, involving six supermarket chains operating in Brazil and six farming distributors that produce fruit and vegetables (F&V). The findings show that actions towards food waste reduction based on the principles of the circular economy begin with an understanding of F&V stages of deterioration. Through such an understanding, a number of actions can be undertaken to reduce the negative effects of this deterioration. These include (among others) the management of prices, sales, operations, and purchases, all of which can be underpinned by such technologies as sensors and augmented reality in order to manage dynamic pricing, storage, and item display. The findings contribute to demonstrating how digital technologies can help supermarkets’ marketing de�partments in driving corporate sustainability while also benefiting both consumers and societal well-being.
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Article
This exploratory paper investigates how to reduce 25% of the potential perishable processed food disposal (PPFD) in the industrial-retail sector in a specific emerging economy The data were collected through 28 semi�structured interviews with suppliers and supermarket managers in an emerging economy. The findings contribute by revealing a paradox and a symbiosis that can advance the circular economy (CE). This paradox begins when suppliers reduce their own food disposal by offering benefits to supermarkets, which helps to sell items close to their expiration date. However, these benefits may induce supermarkets to place orders that exceed their sales capacity. When supermarkets do not sell these items before their expiration date, the products tend to be returned to the supplier, thus reducing the supermarket’s waste but increasing the supplier’s waste. These actions reveal a paradox: reducing PPFD in one link of the supply chain may exacerbate it in another. “Industry�Retail symbiosis” can improve the CE. Such symbiosis emerges when suppliers reduce their margins to offer additional benefits to supermarkets. These additional benefits improve supermarkets’ sales to consumers with lower purchasing power or to smaller retailers that may use the items immediately, thus avoiding the return of items which are still suitable for human consumption and thereby improving the CE. Future studies could investigate: how to enhance Industry-Retail Symbiosis; what managerial information is required to use tech�nologies to align products, stocks, prices, and stores; how suppliers can best manage the benefits offered to retailers or their partnerships with other suppliers (e.g., a shared sales center to improve symbiosis with re�tailers); and how retailers can best manage alternative sales channels and store managers’ autonomy.
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Presentation
In this presetation, I explore how to achieve low carbon food value chain and I propose several strategies to achieve that according to literarure.
Chapter
On a global scale, the agro-industrial sector generates a high volume of waste that generally presents difficulties to be reused, treated, or disposed of in processes that minimize its impact on the environment. Biotechnology emerges as a field that combines the disciplines of life sciences, ecology, and engineering to exploit biological processes (mainly microbial) in environmental applications of waste treatment. This chapter presents alternatives for the treatment of agro-industrial waste, classified according to their origin and composition. Important aspects related to the engineering of waste treatment are discussed, such as the selection criteria for strategies or alternatives, as well as the level of transformation achieved by the residual. A topic of relevance in this chapter is the use of enzymes, as biological catalysts, in the treatment of residual effluents. The relevance of this alternative is presented through case studies related to dye removal and wastewater treatment from the coffee production industry. An analysis of the submerged fermentation (SmF) and solid-state fermentation (FES) systems is presented to identify the most suitable configuration for effluent treatment. Finally, an analysis of the scaling stages and the study of the economics of these bioremediation processes are proposed from a simplified perspective.
Article
China established a self-organized and market-driven recycling system, which was dominated by the informal sectors. In recent years, the amount of domestically-recycled waste paper grew slower than expectation in China, which may be resulted from a decline in economic sustainability of current recycling system. For understanding the waste paper recycling system in most cities in China, the economic mechanism remains unclear and the city-level data is extremely insufficient. In this work, an index of recycling sustainability (IRS, benefit divided by cost) is analyzed with a resolution of 1 km² grid in Beijing City, by adopting value chain and GIS methodology. Five degrees of IRS are defined, from high-degree (IRS > 1.10) to low-degree (IRS < 0.95). Different stakeholders in the informal waste paper recycling system were interviewed to fill the data gap. Results show that: (1) from 2015 to 2018, the informal recycling of waste paper accounted for approximate 80% in Beijing; (2) the number of informal recyclables distribution sites decreased from 27 to 11, and their average distance to the city-center rose from 27.5 km to 40.9 km; (3) in 2015 and 2018, the grids with high-degree IRS accounted for 99.5% and 89.2%, respectively, indicating a sustainable waste paper recycling industry in Beijing; and (4) according to the scenario analysis, if the operating cost rises by 30%, the grids with low-degree IRS accounts for 98.5%, indicating a nontrivial challenges when the recycling cost keeps increasing in the future. Policy recommendations are put forward for a more sustainable paper waste recycling system in China.
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Article
Although it is difficult to clearly identify the extent to which the foodservice industry contributes to food waste, its share is undoubtedly significant. As the hospitality and foodservice industry develops, more and more food waste is produced. The reduction of food waste is a key challenge for the sustainable development of the foodservice industry as it has negative economic and environmental impacts and is ethically reprehensible. The objectives of the study were to develop a risk management model of food waste based on the ISO 31000 standard for foodservice establishments, to learn the causes of food waste, and, on this basis, to estimate the risk of food waste in foodservice establishments. The survey was conducted in 130 foodservice establishments located in Poland using a specially designed questionnaire. The risk of food waste was identified in the studied foodservice establishments, manifested by throwing away of semi-finished products, hot and cold served dishes, bread, vegetables and fruit, expired products, products with signs of spoilage, and products with no visible signs of spoilage. Two risk levels were identified: medium risk for fruits and vegetables, and bread, and high (not acceptable) for the other six foodstuffs. Two risk treatment options were identified: prevention and tolerance.
Article
This study contributes to the household food waste literature by helping us to understand the personal and social factors that influence our use of expiry-date labels on dairy products. It uses an extended theory of planned behaviour (TPB) model with the additional variables of habit and food waste attitudes as well as two upstream expiry-date behaviours, checking date labels in shops and checking date labels in the fridge. Data was collected from consumers in a two-stage survey. Results indicate that both intentions and habit had a relatively strong influence on behaviour, as did the upstream expiry-date behaviours of checking date labels in shops and checking date labels in the fridge. Attitudes, food waste attitudes, and social norms were all found to be associated with intentions whereas perceived behavioural control (PBC) was not found to be associated with either intentions of behaviour. These findings have implications for our understanding of behaviours associated with food waste and therefore for food waste reduction policy and communication efforts.
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Book
Annex to "Wege zur Reduzierung von Lebensmittelabfällen - Pathways to reduce food waste (REFOWAS): Maßnahmen, Bewertungsrahmen und Analysewerkzeuge sowie zukunftsfähige Ansätze für einen nachhaltigen Umgang mit Lebensmitteln unter Einbindung sozio-ökologischer Innovationen, Volume 1"
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With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the countries of the United Nations have set themselves the goal of reducing food waste along the entire value chain by 2030. The aim of the REFOWAS project was to analyze the German agri-food sector with regard to the production of food waste and, in particular, the share of avoidable waste, and to identify and test strategies and starting points for waste reduction measures. The project combines two levels of analysis. The first, a holistic analysis of the German food sector, was carried out with regard to the waste generated by avoidable and unavoidable food waste and the related environmental effects. At the same time case studies were used to examine various subsectors in more detail (fruit and vegetables, baked goods, school meals) and a social empirical study (private households) was carried out. The methods chosen include: technical discussions; round tables; status quo and control measurements; household survey analyses; guided expert interviews; workshops and field tests to validate results and previously established options for action. The sector-wide investigations are largely based on data from the Federal Statistical Office and derived literature values. In the case studies food waste was quantified and reduction measures tested. From the varied and differentiated findings, recommendations for action for actors in politics, business and society could be derived. The results of the project were communicated in particular through the practically tested and evaluated measures, the subsequent information materials such as articles, brochures and video clips, as well as the wide-ranging discussion of results with lectures and workshops (see REFOWAS website - https://refowas.de).
Article
Approximately 88 Mt of food are wasted every year in the European Union and are responsible for 15–16% of the environmental impact of its entire food value chain. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3 demands per capita global food waste (FW) at the retail and consumer levels to be halved by 2030. This study aims to identify whether the SDG 12.3 is realistic and to assess the associated climate, biodiversity, and aggregated environmental benefits from FW prevention in the food service sector. The FW reduction potential is assessed in 13 case studies that implemented measures for reduction. We estimate status quo avoidable FW at 108 g/meal (13% of purchased food), causing 238 g CO2-eq/meal. FW reduction achieved in the case studies ranges from 32% of status quo in the education subsector to 62% in the business subsector. On average, a 38% decrease in FW amounts reduces climate impacts of FW by 41% and biodiversity impacts by 30%. In an extended reduction scenario, food services use 50% non-marketable vegetables that would otherwise be wasted throughout the food value chain. In combination, FW amounts are reduced by 70%. We conclude that the SDG 12.3 is realistic and can even be exceeded in the long term. Initial investments and political support are important to reach individual food services.
Article
A trade-off is faced by products and services’ providers: reaching economic profitability while respecting the environment and benefiting the society. A sustainability balance is fundamental to satisfy human needs in a resource-scarce global context. Consumers’ behaviour plays a key role on sustainability due to its purchase power, but sometimes the absence of information or fully label understanding results into uninformed decisions. A highly processed product widely consumed in developed countries is chocolate, despite the environmental, economic, and social impacts of its production. The aim of this research is to identify the perception of consumers regarding the sustainability of the chocolate life cycle and compare it with experts’ opinion, and evidences from current studies. Special attention on food loss and waste has been made due to its relevance in the sustainability sphere. A combination of literature review and consultation to consumers and chocolate value-chain experts evidenced the gap between what is expected by consumers and what is recognized by experts and literature. Lack of fully understanding of labels, missing information about cocoa crops and its connection with deforestation or, the absence of studies dealing with the social, economic and environmental impacts of chocolate life cycle have been identified as some of the gaps. These could be fulfilled by improving the lack of a common assessment method applied to measure sustainability in a comparative way, the dearth of buyers’ trust to certifications by enhancing its meaning, and the poverty of communication received and understood about sustainable products by targeting specific consumers’ needs.
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Thesis
What humans eat can have a significant impact on ecosystems and the climate. In order to attain the climate targets to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, it is important to reduce consumption of carbon-intensive food products. Many studies have quantified the environmental impacts of food consumption. However, most of these prior diet-related environmental assessment studies have evaluated impacts based on a snapshot of food consumption, instead of evaluating the changes in food-related environmental impacts over a period of time. Understanding these changes is important in determining what factors affect consumer food consumption behaviours that would shift their food consumption patterns towards less resource intensive products. This thesis evaluates the changes in food, nutritional value, and carbon footprint (CF) of dietary patterns in Ontario in the last decade, broadly in three steps. First, change assessment is conducted by comparing the overall food consumption based on the 24-hour recall food intake data from the Canadian Community Health Survey-Nutrition in 2004 and 2015. Then seven dietary patterns are identified by analyzing the food types of each survey participant and Life Cycle Assessment is used to quantify CF of these dietary patterns. Canada’s Food Guide is used to assess the nutritional quality of actual dietary patterns, and then alternative nutritionally-balanced and low carbon dietary patterns are formulated and their CF is determined. The results suggest that: 1) overall, Ontarians are eating less red meat and more poultry and drinking less beverages high in sugar content; 2) Ontarians continue to overconsume daily protein, possibly because they do not consider protein from non-meat products, such as milk and cheese; 3) the CF of Ontarians food consumption has decreased in the last decade, specifically due to reductions in beef, which is the most carbon-intensive food product; and 4) also, the CF of nutritionally-balanced diets has decreased for all dietary patterns, only exception is Pescatarian that showed a slight increase. Changes in types and amounts of food consumed could be a result of health concerns, increase in climate change awareness, economic or cultural fluctuations. Overall, this thesis improves our understanding of the CF and nutritional assessment of Ontarians’ current food consumption and how this has changed in the last 10 years. By determining and understanding changes, this research could also be helpful to identify strategies to shift Ontarians’ food consumption behaviors towards nutritionally-balanced and low carbon-intensive food choices.
Article
Literature published in 2017 and early 2018 related to food processing wastes treatment for industrial applications are reviewed. This review is a subsection of the Treatment Systems section of the annual Water Environment Federation literature review and covers the following food processing industries and applications: general, meat and poultry, fruits and vegetables, dairy and beverage, and miscellaneous treatment of food wastes.
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Technical Report
To develop reliable food waste estimates, which can be accurately repeated over time, it is necessary to produce data within a robust methodological framework. This must comprise a consistent definition of food waste and its components, and consistent system boundaries for the food supply chain. The absence of a framework for defining food waste to date has led to the production of datasets that are not always comparable or transparent as to which fractions are included. A common definitional framework will support policy-makers at both EU and Member State level, and stakeholders across the food supply chain, by enabling them to accurately track the rate of food waste reduction, and the effectiveness of their waste prevention strategies. The development of this framework for defining food waste signals a key step towards improving our understanding of the food waste challenge in Europe and its consistent use will help measure progress towards both resource efficiency and food security goals. The main conclusions are presented below.
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Article
Policy directives in several nations are focusing on the development of smart cities, linking innovations in the data sciences with the goal of advancing human well-being and sustainability on a highly urbanized planet. To achieve this goal, smart initiatives must move beyond city-level data to a higher-order understanding of cities as transboundary, multisectoral, multiscalar, social-ecological-infrastructural systems with diverse actors, priorities, and solutions. We identify five key dimensions of cities and present eight principles to focus attention on the systems-level decisions that society faces to transition toward a smart, sustainable, and healthy urban future.
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Purpose Version 3 of ecoinvent includes more data, new modeling principles, and, for the first time, several system models: the “Allocation, cut-off by classification” (Cut-off) system model, which replicates the modeling principles of version 2, and two newly introduced models called “Allocation at the point of substitution” (APOS) and “Consequential” (Wernet et al. 2016). The aim of this paper is to analyze and explain the differences in life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) results of the v3.1 Cut-off system model in comparison to v2.2 as well as the APOS and Consequential system models. Methods In order to do this, functionally equivalent datasets were matched across database versions and LCIA results compared to each other. In addition, the contribution of specific sectors was analyzed. The importance of new and updated data as well as new modeling principles is illustrated through examples. Results and discussion Differences were observed in between all database versions using the impact assessment methods Global Warming Potential (GWP100a), ReCiPe Endpoint (H/A), and Ecological Scarcity 2006 (ES’06). The highest differences were found for the comparison of the v3.1 Cut-off and v2.2. At average, LCIA results increased by 6, 8, and 17 % and showed a median dataset deviation of 13, 13, and 21 % for GWP, ReCiPe, and ES’06, respectively. These changes are due to the simultaneous update and addition of new data as well as through the introduction of global coverage and spatially consistent linking of activities throughout the database. As a consequence, supply chains are now globally better represented than in version 2 and lead, e.g., in the electricity sector, to more realistic life cycle inventory (LCI) background data. LCIA results of the Cut-off and APOS models are similar and differ mainly for recycling materials and wastes. In contrast, LCIA results of the Consequential version differ notably from the attributional system models, which is to be expected due to fundamentally different modeling principles. The use of marginal instead of average suppliers in markets, i.e., consumption mixes, is the main driver for result differences. Conclusions LCIA results continue to change as LCI databases evolve, which is confirmed by a historical comparison of v1.3 and v2.2. Version 3 features more up-to-date background data as well as global supply chains and should, therefore, be used instead of previous versions. Continuous efforts will be required to decrease the contribution of Rest-of-the-World (RoW) productions and thereby improve the global coverage of supply chains.
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Article
Avoiding food loss and waste may counteract the increasing food demand and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the agricultural sector. This is crucial because of limited options available to increase food production. In the year 2010, food availability was 20% higher than was required on a global scale. Thus, a more sustainable food production and adjusted consumption would have positive environmental effects. This study provides a systematic approach to estimate consumer level food waste on a country scale and globally, based on food availability and requirements. The food requirement estimation considers demographic development, body weights, and physical activity levels. Surplus between food availability and requirements of a given country is considered as food waste. The global food requirement changed from 2,300 kcal/cap/day to 2,400 kcal/cap/day during the last 50 years, while food surplus grew from 310 kcal/cap/day to 510 kcal/cap/day. Similarly, GHG emissions related to the food surplus increased from 130 Mt CO2eq./yr to 530 Mt CO2eq./yr, an increase of more than 300%. Moreover, the global food surplus may increase up to 850 kcal/cap/day, while the total food requirement will increase only by 2%-20% by 2050. Consequently, GHG emissions associated with the food waste may also increase tremendously to 1.9–2.5 Gt CO2eq./yr.
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Purpose The objective was to assess the environmental burden of food consumption and food losses in Germany with the aim to define measures to reduce environmentally relevant food losses. To support the finding of measurements, the study provides differentiated information on life phases (agriculture, processing, retailer, and consumption), consumption places (in-house and out-of-home), and the average German food basket consisting of eight food categories. Methods In order to obtain information on the environmental impacts of German food consumption, the study analyzed the material flows of the food products in the German food basket starting from consumption phase and going backwards until agricultural production. The analysis includes all relevant impact categories such as GWP, freshwater and marine eutrophication, particular matter formation, and agricultural land and water use. The life stages consumers, retail, wholesale, food production, and agriculture have been taken into account. Furthermore, transports to and within Germany have been considered. Consumption and production data have been taken from the German income and consumption sample, German production and trade statistics, and studies recently carried out on food losses. In order to model German food consumption, some simplifications had to be done. Results and discussion Results show that German food consumption is responsible for 2.7 t of greenhouse gases per person and year. Fourteen cubic meters of blue water is used for agricultural food production per person, and 2673 m2 of agricultural land is occupied each year per German for food consumption. Between 14 and 20 % of the environmental burdens (depending on the impact category) result from food losses along the value chain. Out-of-home consumption is responsible for 8 to 28 % of the total environmental impacts (depending on the impact category). In particular, animal products cause high environmental burdens. Regarding life cycle phases, agriculture and consumption cause the highest impacts: together, they are responsible for more than 87 % of the total environmental burdens. Conclusions The study shows that food production and consumption as well as food losses along the value chain are of high relevance regarding Germany’s environmental impacts. In particular, animal products are responsible for high environmental burdens. Thus, with respect to reducing environmentally relevant food losses, measures should focus in particular on the reduction of food waste of animal origin. The most relevant life cycle phases to reduce environmental impacts are agricultural production and consumption in households and out-of-home.
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Article
Each year, 1 300 000 tons of whey occur in Switzerland as a by-product of cheesemaking: 24 % is used in the food industry, 31 % is transformed into high-value animal feed and 45 % is fed directly to pigs. Increasing the percentage made into foodstuffs would be desirable but is difficult to realize because production is scattered and concentrating the many small amounts of whey is transport intensive. Moreover, the composition of the whey varies according to the type of cheese manufactured, which complicates processing and makes it difficult to obtain milk protein powder with constant properties. Producing «ideal» whey would allow circumventing the problem but would require changing the cheese production processes. The economic impact of such a step has not yet been calculated. Estimates of the environmental impact can be positive or negative depending on the protein concentration and the lactose removal. Only little is known about the associations that the word «whey» evokes for consumers, and a strategy allowing to increase the amounts consumed remains to be defined.
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Article
Habitat degradation and subsequent biodiversity damage often takes place far away from the place of consumption due to globalization and increasing international trade. Informing consumers and policy makers about the biodiversity impacts "hidden" in the life cycle of imported products is an important step toward achieving sustainable consumption patterns. Spatially explicit methods are needed in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to accurately quantify biodiversity impacts of products and processes. We use the Countryside species area relationship (SAR) to quantify regional species loss due to land occupation and transformation for five taxa and six land use types in 804 terrestrial ecoregions. Further, we calculate vulnerability scores for each ecoregion based on the fraction of each species' geographic range (endemic richness) hosted by the ecoregion and the IUCN assigned threat level of each species. Vulnerability scores are multiplied with SAR predicted regional species loss to estimate potential global extinctions per unit of land use. As a case study, we assess the land use biodiversity impacts of 1 kg of bioethanol produced using six different feed stocks in different parts of the world. Results show that the regions with highest biodiversity impacts differed markedly when including the vulnerability of species.
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A review was performed of eight previously performed investigations of environmental impacts from end-consumer food waste prevention. The overall aim of the study was to investigate the state of the art in these assessments, identify key factors which could explain seen variations in GWP-emission savings, and suggest methodological improvements leading to increased potentials for cross-study comparisons. Avoided emissions of greenhouse gases can according to reviewed studies reach from 0.8 to 4.4 kg CO2-eq./kg prevented food waste. The review shows that differences in calculated environmental benefits largely can be explained by emissions from avoided food production and related services, rather than avoided management of generated food waste. Thus, variations in previous studies are largely explained by differences in system boundary delimitations and assumptions related to the avoided food supply system. The review supports that food production is the overall determining factor for benefits related to food waste prevention in reviewed studies. In addition, consumer transports and end-consumer preparation can have a large impact on overall results, mainly due to the relatively small amount of food transported/prepared per unit energy consumed. The importance of a specific process in the food supply chain on overall results will however depend on several different parameters, such as environmental profile of energy used for cooking. The present study also discusses food categories of relevance to differentiate between when addressing the composition of preventable food waste, with the general recommendation to differentiate between vegetables/fruit, bread, cheese, other dairy products, fish, meat (beef) and meat (other than beef). As the many assumptions necessarily made in assessment of prevented food production have a large impact on the overall results, it is recommended for the LCA-practitioner to clearly present made assumptions. In addition, use of sensitivity analyses, varying the composition of prevented food waste is useful for robustness check. Due to the current diversity in methodological approaches when assessing environmental benefits from food waste prevention, authors would welcome establishment of more detailed guidelines within this field in order to increase both the general quality in assessments as well as the potential for cross-study comparisons.
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Article
The planetary boundaries framework defines a safe operating space for humanity based on the intrinsic biophysical processes that regulate the stability of the Earth system. Here, we revise and update the planetary boundary framework, with a focus on the underpinning biophysical science, based on targeted input from expert research communities and on more general scientific advances over the past 5 years. Several of the boundaries now have a two-tier approach, reflecting the importance of cross-scale interactions and the regional-level heterogeneity of the processes that underpin the boundaries. Two core boundaries—climate change and biosphere integrity—have been identified, each of which has the potential on its own to drive the Earth system into a new state should they be substantially and persistently transgressed.
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Technical Report
Projektförderung: Bundesministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz Projektlaufzeit: 01.06.2011 bis 29.02.2012 Ziel des Vorhabens war es, erstmals auf Basis von Statistiken, Recherchen, Literatur, Umfragen, Expertengesprächen sowie von stichprobenhaften Einzeluntersuchungen im Haushaltsbereich die in Deutschland anfallenden Mengen an Lebensmittelabfällen abzuschätzen. Darüber hinaus sollten Vorschläge zur Reduzierung der Wegwerfrate von Lebensmitteln erarbeitet werden. Hierbei wurde differenziert nach Lebensmittelindustrie, Groß- und Einzelhandel sowie Verbraucher (Großverbraucher und Haushalte). Die Abschätzung der Lebensmittelabfälle in der Landwirtschaft ist sehr aufwändig und wurde in diesem Forschungsvorhaben nicht durchgeführt. Dies bleibt separaten Untersuchungen vorbehalten. Das Vorhaben umfasst eine Recherche der aktuellen Datenlage und Fachdiskussion, wobei eine umfangreiche Daten- und Literaturauswertung bezüglich Mengen, Maßnahmen und Initiativen sowie Fachgesprächen im EU-Ausland und weiteren Industrienationen (z.B. USA, Australien) durchgeführt wurde. Auf Basis der recherchierten Datengrundlage wurden die Lebensmittelabfallmengen für Deutschland abgeschätzt, Empfehlungen für Vermeidungsmaßnahmen erarbeitet sowie gleichzeitig die vorhandenen Datenlücken aufgezeigt und Vorschläge zu deren Beseitigung skizziert. Die im Hinblick auf eine optimierte Lebensmittelbewirtschaftung recherchierten Maßnahmen und Initiativen wurden unter Berücksichtigung von Nutzwertaspekten bewertet. Die Bewertung erfolgte insbesondere unter den Gesichtspunkten der Effizienz und der Übertragbarkeit auf die in Deutschland vorherrschenden Rahmenbedingungen. Im Ergebnis werden praktikable Best-Practice-Beispiele identifiziert, deren Übertragung auf Deutschland positive Effekte auf die Lebensmittelbewirtschaftung und insbesondere die Vermeidung von Lebensmittelabfällen erwarten lassen.
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Data
Das Ziel dieses Projektes bestand darin, Entscheidungsgrundlagen für die optimale Verwer- tung von Grüngut (Sammelbegriff für biogene Abfälle aus Sammlung in Gemeinden, Land- schaftspflege und Industrie) bereitzustellen. Dazu wurden einerseits Ökoinventare in ecoin- vent Qualität zu verschiedenen Verfahren (Kompostierung, Vergärung und thermische Nut- zung in einer KVA) für unterschiedliche Arten von Grüngut erstellt. Andererseits wurde die Grundlage eines Tools entwickelt, welches das System Grüngutverwertung einer bestimmten Gemeinde oder Region modellieren und die verschiedenen Wechselwirkungen und regiona- len Gegebenheiten berücksichtigen kann. Um dieses Ziel zu erreichen, mussten zuerst die folgenden Forschungsfragen geklärt wer- den: • Emissionen bei der Kompostierung und Vergärung Messwerte aus verschiedenen Forschungsprojekten wurden zusammen mit einem in- ternationalen Expertengremium diskutiert und evaluiert, so dass jetzt verlässliche Emissionsfaktoren vorliegen. Vor allem die Methanemissionen liegen sowohl für die Vergärung wie auch für die Kompostierung wesentlich tiefer als die bis heute in Ökoinventaren verwendeten Werte. • Bewertung der organischen Substanz von Kompost und Gärgut zur Humusbildung Verschiedene Möglichkeiten um den Humus in Ökobilanzen zu bewerten, wurden evaluiert, weiterentwickelt und mit internationalen Experten diskutiert. So konnte ein Verfahren gefunden werden, mit dem die organische Substanz im Kompost oder Gärgut in Ökobilanzen bewertet werden kann. Die Berechnungen haben gezeigt, dass die Berücksichtigung der organischen Substanz einen relevanten Einfluss auf das Resultat hat. • Schwermetalle im Kompost und Gärgut Bei der Bewertung von Schwermetallen hat es sich gezeigt, dass grosse Unsicherheiten auftreten. Je nach Bewertungsmethode dominieren die Schwermetallemissionen die gesamte Bilanz. Eine Überarbeitung der Methoden bzw. der entsprechenden Inventare ist aus unserer Sicht notwendig. Diesbezüglich werden einige Ansätze vorgestellt.
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Article
Irrigation is the dominant human activity leading to water stress, with environmental consequences on the local and global level. The relevance of spatial resolution to the assessment of water consumption and to impacts related to crop production has been acknowledged in previous research on water footprint. The temporal aspects of crop cultivation and the related impacts, however, have been neglected in analyses with global coverage. Such aspects are important since different crop options can shift irrigation water consumption within a year, increasing or decreasing the related water stress. Additionally, in some regions, temporal aspects are crucial due to the high variability of water availability. Consequently, an annual assessment might be misleading regarding crop choices within and among different regions. A temporal resolution is therefore essential for proper life cycle assessment (LCA) or water footprint of crop production. For this purpose we develop a water stress index (WSI) on a monthly basis for more than 11,000 watersheds with global coverage. The median and average watershed area are 1327 and19591 km2, respectively. The WSI ranges from 0.01 (least water scarcity) to 1 (maximal water scarcity), and quantifies the fraction of water consumed of which other users are potentially deprived of. Moreover, irrigation water consumption for 160 crop groups is calculated on a monthly basis and on a high spatial resolution (<10 km). Crop water footprints (WFP) are calculated by multiplying monthly WSI with monthly crop irrigation water consumption and by summing the result over the cultivation period. With these results we facilitate a new level of detail for WFP analysis.
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Article
A key element in making our food systems more efficient is the reduction of food losses across the entire food value chain. Nevertheless, food losses are often neglected. This paper quantifies food losses in Switzerland at the various stages of the food value chain (agricultural production, postharvest handling and trade, processing, food service industry, retail, and households), identifies hotspots and analyses the reasons for losses. Twenty-two food categories are modelled separately in a mass and energy flow analysis, based on data from 31 companies within the food value chain, and from public institutions, associations, and from the literature. The energy balance shows that 48% of the total calories produced (edible crop yields at harvest time and animal products, including slaughter waste) is lost across the whole food value chain. Half of these losses would be avoidable given appropriate mitigation measures. Most avoidable food losses occur at the household, processing, and agricultural production stage of the food value chain. Households are responsible for almost half of the total avoidable losses (in terms of calorific content).
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Article
Food waste in the global food supply chain is reviewed in relation to the prospects for feeding a population of nine billion by 2050. Different definitions of food waste with respect to the complexities of food supply chains (FSCs)are discussed. An international literature review found a dearth of data on food waste and estimates varied widely; those for post-harvest losses of grain in developing countries might be overestimated. As much of the post-harvest loss data for developing countries was collected over 30 years ago, current global losses cannot be quantified. A significant gap exists in the understanding of the food waste implications of the rapid development of 'BRIC' economies. The limited data suggest that losses are much higher at the immediate post-harvest stages in developing countries and higher for perishable foods across industrialized and developing economies alike. For affluent economies, post-consumer food waste accounts for the greatest overall losses. To supplement the fragmentary picture and to gain a forward view, interviews were conducted with international FSC experts. The analyses highlighted the scale of the problem, the scope for improved system efficiencies and the challenges of affecting behavioural change to reduce post-consumer waste in affluent populations.
Article
The multifunctional character of resource recovery in waste management systems is commonly addressed through system expansion/substitution in life cycle assessment (LCA). Avoided burdens credited based on expected displacement of other product systems can dominate the overall results, making the underlying assumptions particularly important for the interpretation and recommendations. Substitution modeling, however, is often poorly motivated or inadequately described, which limits the utility and comparability of such LCA studies. The aim of this study is therefore to provide a structure for the systematic reporting of information and assumptions expected to contribute to the substitution potential in order to make substitution modeling and the results thereof more transparent and interpretable. We propose a reporting framework that can also support the systematic estimation of substitution potentials related to resource recovery. Key components of the framework include waste-specific (physical) resource potential, recovery efficiency, and displacement rate. End-use–specific displacement rates can be derived as the product of the relative functionality (substitutability) of the recovered resources compared to potentially displaced products and the expected change in consumption of competing products. Substitutability can be determined based on technical functionality and can include additional constraints. The case of anaerobic digestion of organic household waste illustrates its application. The proposed framework enables well-motivated substitution potentials to be accounted for, regardless of the chosen approach, and improves the reproducibility of comparative LCA studies of resource recovery.
Article
The environmental evaluation of food waste prevention is considered a challenging task due to the globalised nature of the food supply chain and the limitations of existing evaluation tools. The most significant of these is the rebound effect: the associated environmental burdens of substitutive consumption that arises as a result of economic savings made from food waste prevention. This study introduces a holistic approach to addressing these challenges, with a focus on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from household food waste in the UK. It uses a hybrid life-cycle assessment model coupled with a highly detailed multi-regional environmentally extended input output analysis to capture environmental impacts across the global food supply chain. The study also takes into consideration the rebound effect, which was modeled using a linear specification of an almost ideal demand system. The study finds that food waste prevention could lead to substantial reductions in GHG emissions in the order of 706 to 896 kg CO2-eq. per tonne of food waste, with most of these savings (78%) occurring as a result of avoided food production overseas. The rebound effect may however reduce such GHG savings by up to 80%. These findings provide a deeper insight into our understanding of the environmental impacts of food waste prevention: the study demonstrates the need to adopt a holistic approach when developing food waste prevention policies in order to mitigate the rebound effect and highlight the importance of increasing efficiency across the global food supply chain, particularly in developing countries.
Article
We investigated water-related resource use, emissions and ecosystem impacts of food consumed in Switzerland. To do so, we coupled LCA methodologies on freshwater consumption, freshwater eutrophication and the consequent local and global biodiversity impacts with Swiss customs data and multi-regional input-output analysis. Most of the resource use, emissions and impacts occur outside the national boundaries which illustrates the extent of environmental outsourcing facilitated by international trade. Countries that are severely affected by Swiss food consumption include Spain, the United States and Ecuador. Cocoa, coffee and almonds stood out as products with high impacts. By identifying spatial hotspots and impactful products, awareness of policy-makers as well as individual consumers can be raised and efforts of detailed assessments can be streamlined. However, political and economic constraints and the resistance by individual consumers limit the high potential of changes in diets and trade relations to decrease the environmental impacts of food.
Article
Ensuring a sufficient supply of quality food for a growing human population is a major challenge, aggravated by climate change and already-strained natural resources. Food security requires production of some food surpluses to safeguard against unpredictable fluctuations ( 1 ). However, when food is wasted, not only has carbon been emitted to no avail, but disposal and decomposition in landfills create additional environmental impacts. Decreasing the current high scale of food waste is thus crucial for achieving resource-efficient, sustainable food systems ( 2 ). But, although avoiding food waste seems an obvious step toward sustainability, especially given that most people perceive wasting food as grossly unethical ( 3 ), food waste is a challenge that is not easily solved.
Article
The main purpose of the study was to get detailed data on amounts and composition of edible food waste from Norwegian households, based on detailed waste composition analyses from two municipalities/regions in Norway. The importance of age, number of persons and residence type of each household for the amount of waste was studied statistically. Residual waste from 220 households in Fredrikstad and Hallingdal was sorted and weighted specifically for each household, and analyzed for total waste, total food waste, edible food waste, food in original packaging and six types of food. The study showed that each household generated 8.86 kg total waste per week, of which 3.76 kg was food waste, 2.17 kg edible food waste and 0.60 kg edible food waste in original packaging. Fresh bakery products (mainly bread) constituted 27% of the edible food waste, fruits and vegetables 24%, left-overs of prepared food 22%, meat and fish 8%, dairy products 6% and other types of food 22%. There were significantly higher amounts of waste from the city of Fredrikstad than from the rural area of Hallingdal regarding total waste, food waste and edible waste, as well as fresh bakery products. In Fredrikstad city, no significant differences could be identified between different geographic areas, residence types or age groups, mostly due to variations between the samples and small sample sizes. Based in results from this study and a survey of more than 50 conventional waste composition analyses from Norwegian municipalities, the amount of edible food waste per capita in Norway was estimated as about 46.3 kg/year.
Article
Prevention has been suggested as the preferred food waste management solution compared to alternatives such as conversion to animal fodder or to energy. In this study we used Societal Life-Cycle Costing, as welfare economic assessment, and Environmental Life-Cycle Costing, as financial assessment combined with life-cycle assessment, to evaluate food waste management. Both LCC assessments included direct and indirect effects. The latter were related to income effects, accounting for the marginal consumption induced when alternative scenarios lead to different household expenses, and the land-use-changes effect associated with food production. Results highlighted that prevention, while providing the highest welfare gains as more services/goods could be consumed with the same income, could also incur the highest environmental impacts if the monetary savings from unpurchased food commodities were spent on goods/services with a more environmentally damaging production than that of the (prevented) food. This was not the case when savings were used e.g. for health care, education, and insurances. This study demonstrates that income effects, although uncertain, should be included whenever alternative scenarios incur different financial costs. Further, it highlights that food prevention measures should not only demote the purchase of unconsumed food but also promote a low-impact use of the savings generated.
Article
Food waste (FW) generates large upstream and downstream emissions to the environment and unnecessarily consumes natural resources, potentially affecting future food security. The ecological impacts of FW can be addressed by the upstream strategies of FW prevention or by downstream strategies of FW recycling, including energy and nutrient recovery. While FW recycling is often prioritized in practice, the ecological implications of the two strategies remain poorly understood from a quantitative systems perspective. Here, we develop a multi-layer systems framework and scenarios to quantify the implications of targeted food waste strategies on national biomass, energy, and phosphorus (P) cycles, using Norway as a case study. We found that (i) avoidable food waste in Norway accounts for 17% of food sold; (ii) 10% of the avoidable food waste occurs at the consumption stage, while industry and retailers account for only 7%; (iii) the theoretical potential for system wide net process energy saving is 16% for FW prevention and 8% for FW recycling; (iv) the theoretical potential for system wide P saving is 21% for FW prevention and 9% FW recycling; (v) while FW recycling results in exclusively domestic nutrient and energy savings, FW prevention leads to domestic and international savings due to large food imports; (vi) most effective is a combination of prevention and recycling, however, FW prevention reduces the potential for FW recycling and therefore needs to be prioritized to avoid potential overcapacities for FW recycling.
Article
The unprecedented scale of food waste in global food supply chains is attracting increasing attention due to its environmental, social and economic impacts. From a climate change perspective, the food sector is thought to be the cause of 22 per cent of the global warming potential in the EU. Drawing on interviews with food waste specialists, this study construes the boundaries between food surplus and food waste, avoidable and unavoidable food waste, and between waste prevention and waste management. This study suggests that the first step towards a more sustainable resolution of the growing food waste issue is to adopt a sustainable production and consumption approach and tackle food surplus and waste throughout the global food supply chain. The authors examine the factors that give rise to food waste throughout the global food supply chain, and propose a framework to identify and prioritize the most appropriate options for the prevention and management of food waste. The proposed framework interprets and applies the waste hierarchy in the context of food waste. It considers the three dimensions of sustainability (environmental, economic, and social), offering a more holistic approach in addressing the food waste issue. Additionally, it considers the materiality and temporality of food. The food waste hierarchy posits that prevention, through minimization of food surplus and avoidable food waste, is the most attractive option. The second most attractive option involves the distribution of food surplus to groups affected by food poverty, followed by the option of converting food waste to animal feed. Although the proposed food waste hierarchy requires a fundamental re-think of the current practices and systems in place, it has the potential to deliver substantial environmental, social and economic benefits.
Article
Summary • The spread and intensification of agriculture are recognized as two of the most important global threats to wildlife. There are clear links between agricultural change and declines in biodiversity across a wide range of agricultural systems, and convincing evidence that reversing these changes leads to a recovery in wildlife populations. • Nearly 4 billion euros are now paid annually through agri-environment schemes (AES) to farmers in Europe and North America to make environmental improvements to their land. Where appropriately designed and targeted, these schemes have proved successful in reversing declines in farmland wildlife populations. • We argue that insights gained from island biogeography and metapopulation theory, and from theoretical and empirical assessments of landscape connectivity suggest that AES may carry substantial wider benefits, which so far have not been considered in the design and deployment of such schemes. ‘Softening’ agricultural land could offset some of the negative impacts on biodiversity of the loss and fragmentation of non-agricultural habitats; could allow species to adapt to climate change; could slow the spread of alien and invasive species; and could contribute positively to the coherence of key biodiversity and protected area networks. Indeed, AES might represent the only viable way to counter these threats. • We outline a number of ways in which these wider benefits could be taken account of in the design of AES and suggest a number of characteristics of the species most likely to benefit from them. • Synthesis and applications. Agri-environment schemes might bring significant environmental benefits to habitats other than farmland by restoring the agricultural matrix that separates them. Theoretical and empirical research suggests that matrix restoration improves a number of ecosystem functions. Where they are available, AES might therefore represent a viable mechanism for addressing a range of pandemic environmental problems such as global climate change. Little consideration has so far been given to these wider conservation applications in the design, deployment and monitoring of AES. Journal of Applied Ecology (2006) doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2006.01146.x
Article
An environmental assessment of the management of organic household waste (OHW) was performed from a life cycle perspective by means of the waste-life cycle assessment (LCA) model EASEWASTE. The focus was on home composting of OHW in Denmark and six different home composting units (with different input and different mixing frequencies) were modelled. In addition, incineration and landfilling was modelled as alternatives to home composting. The most important processes contributing to the environmental impact of home composting were identified as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (load) and the avoided emissions in relation to the substitution of fertiliser and peat when compost was used in hobby gardening (saving). The replacement of fertiliser and peat was also identified as one of the most sensible parameters, which could potentially have a significant environmental benefit. Many of the impact categories (especially human toxicity via water (HTw) and soil (HTs)) were affected by the heavy metal contents of the incoming OHW. The concentrations of heavy metals in the compost were below the threshold values for compost used on land and were thus not considered to constitute a problem. The GHG emissions were, on the other hand, dependent on the management of the composting units. The frequently mixed composting units had the highest GHG emissions. The environmental profiles of the home composting scenarios were in the order of -2 to 16 milli person equivalents (mPE) Mg(-1) wet waste (ww) for the non-toxic categories and -0.9 to 28mPEMg(-1) ww for the toxic categories. Home composting performed better than or as good as incineration and landfilling in several of the potential impact categories. One exception was the global warming (GW) category, in which incineration performed better due to the substitution of heat and electricity based on fossil fuels.
Article
Global crop production is causing pressure on water and land resources in many places. In addition to local resource management, the related environmental impacts of commodities traded along international supply chains need to be considered and managed accordingly. For this purpose, we calculate the specific water consumption and land use for the production of 160 crops and crop groups, covering most harvested mass on global cropland. We quantify indicators for land and water scarcity with high geospatial resolution. This facilitates spatially explicit crop-specific resource management and regionalized life cycle assessment of processed products. The vast cultivation of irrigated wheat, rice, cotton, maize, and sugar cane, which are major sources of food, bioenergy, and fiber, drives worldwide water scarcity. According to globally averaged production, substituting biofuel for crude oil would have a lower impact on water resources than substituting cotton for polyester. For some crops, water scarcity impacts are inversely related to land resource stress, illustrating that water consumption is often at odds with land use. On global average, maize performs better than rice and wheat in the combined land/water assessment. High spatial variability of water and land use related impacts underlines the importance of appropriate site selection for agricultural activities.