Article

Mapping the Influence of Food Waste in Food Packaging Environmental Performance Assessments: Food Waste and Packaging Environmental Trade-Offs

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Abstract

Scrutiny of food packaging environmental impacts has led to a variety of sustainability directives, but has largely focused on the direct impacts of materials. A growing awareness of the impacts of food waste warrants a recalibration of packaging environmental assessment to include the indirect effects due to influences on food waste. In this study, we model 13 food products and their typical packaging formats through a consistent life cycle assessment framework in order to demonstrate the effect of food waste on overall system greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and cumulative energy demand (CED). Starting with food waste rate estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we calculate the effect on GHG emissions and CED of a hypothetical 10% decrease in food waste rate. This defines a limit for increases in packaging impacts from innovative packaging solutions that will still lead to net system environmental benefits. The ratio of food production to packaging production environmental impact provides a guide to predicting food waste effects on system performance. Based on a survey of the food LCA literature, this ratio for GHG emissions ranges from 0.06 (wine example) to 780 (beef example). High ratios with foods such as cereals, dairy, seafood, and meats suggest greater opportunity for net impact reductions through packaging‐based food waste reduction innovations. While this study is not intended to provide definitive LCAs for the product/package systems modeled, it does illustrate both the importance of considering food waste when comparing packaging alternatives, and the potential for using packaging to reduce overall system impacts by reducing food waste.

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... For instance, alcoholic beverages, such as beer and wine, exhibited packaging-related emissions of around 40% (with glass packaging as the main driving impact factor), while fruit and vegetables showed packaging-related emissions of around 10 to 20% [3]. This difference in the impact ratio between packaging and food for different products has also been shown by other authors and studies [4][5][6][7]. For example, Verghese et al. stated that packaging of meat, fish and eggs accounts for 2% of GHG emissions, while packaging for dairy as well as fruits, vegetables and nuts account for 10 and 12%, respectively [6]. ...
... For example, Verghese et al. stated that packaging of meat, fish and eggs accounts for 2% of GHG emissions, while packaging for dairy as well as fruits, vegetables and nuts account for 10 and 12%, respectively [6]. Heller et al. underlined this by visualizing that resourceand emission-intensive food products, such as meat or milk, tend to have a high food-topackaging ratio, while less resource-and emission-intensive food products, such as leafy greens, show a small ratio [7]. ...
... Especially for food products with a (very) high impact, these results point out the importance of the protective function of packaging [6][7][8][9][10]. Optimizing and sometimes increasing packaging can reduce food losses and waste along the food supply chain while at the same time reducing the overall environmental impact [11]. ...
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Article
The usefulness of food packaging is often questioned in the public debate about (ecological) sustainability. While worldwide packaging-related CO2 emissions are accountable for approximately 5% of emissions, specific packaging solutions can reach significantly higher values depending on use case and product group. Unlike other groups, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and life cycle assessment (LCA) of cereal and confectionary products have not been the focus of comprehensive reviews so far. Consequently, the present review first contextualizes packaging, sustainability and related LCA methods and then depicts how cereal and confectionary packaging has been presented in different LCA studies. The results reveal that only a few studies sufficiently include (primary, secondary and tertiary) packaging in LCAs and when they do, the focus is mainly on the direct (e.g., material used) rather than indirect environmental impacts (e.g., food losses and waste) of the like. In addition, it is shown that the packaging of cereals and confectionary contributes on average 9.18% to GHG emissions of the entire food packaging system. Finally, recommendations on how to improve packaging sustainability, how to better include packaging in LCAs and how to reflect this in management-related activities are displayed.
... The GWP of cheese, fish and especially meat, as well as of waste of them, is significantly higher because the provision of these foods is more resource intensive. (Center for Sustainable Systems and University of Michigan, 2018;Heller et al., 2018;Sheane et al., 2011;Wikstr€ om et al., 2019). The higher environmental impact, due to higher GWP, is mainly caused by the production and processing of these products of animal origin (Heller et al., 2018). ...
... (Center for Sustainable Systems and University of Michigan, 2018;Heller et al., 2018;Sheane et al., 2011;Wikstr€ om et al., 2019). The higher environmental impact, due to higher GWP, is mainly caused by the production and processing of these products of animal origin (Heller et al., 2018). Already packaging, tailored to product requirements, can reduce the food waste of beef from 34% to 18% (Lord, 2016). ...
... Around half of the food waste in households is avoidable (Hübsch and Adlwarth, 2017). Varying causes of household food waste include that the food is no longer wanted, expired 'best -before-dates', as well as the parts that are not always eaten such as potato skin, and parts that are not edible such as egg shells (Aschemann-Witzel et al., 2015;Facchini et al., 2018;Frankowska et al., 2019;Gustavsson et al., 2011;Heller et al., 2018;Wohner et al., 2019). Additionally, 34% of the municipal waste generated per capita went to landfills in 2014 (European Environment Agency, 2016). ...
Article
Food packaging maintains the food safety and ensures the quality of food throughout the supply chain. Both are achieved by the protective function of the packaging against negative ambient influences such as mechanical damage, light or water vapour. Material, form and concepts of packaging vary widely, which thus also differentiates the environmental impact for packaging. This paper gives an overview of the current research of European consumer perception and how this correlates with the environmental impact of loose foodstuffs and packaged food. Considered materials are plastic, glass, metal, and paper/cardboard. These perceptions are compared to the objective environmentally friendliness based on the selected assessment criteria carbon footprint, recycling rate, reuse rate and biological degradation/decomposition in Europe. The purpose of this paper is to discover wheatear there is any link between the consumer perception and the scientific assessed environmental sustainability. Consumers judge packaging material by criteria of circular economy, natural looking material, and design. The environmental impact of paper/cardboard and metal are rated in line with the scientific measure by consumers, whereas plastic packaging is underestimated and glass and biodegradable plastic packaging are highly overestimated. These results indicate that the rating of European consumers and scientific life cycle assessments turn out differently. The differences are mainly linked by theoretical concepts of recyclability, biodegradability, and reuse rate of the packaging. Consumers evaluate food packaging by affective feelings than using cognitive reasoning. Their knowledge about the practical implementation of recyclability, biodegradability and reusability as well as additional environmental impact factors are low. Consequently, the consumer buying behaviour is in most cases less environmentally sustainable than intended. Awareness trainings based on scientific facts, clear product and packaging information based on labelling schemes (“eco-labelling”) and nudging for sustainable behaviour can potentially support consumers in their sustainable buying behaviour.
... 13,22 Counterintuitively, increasing the amount of packaging can decrease total life cycle impact of a food product by reducing food waste via improved shelf life, quality, and freshness of perishable foods. 23 This is particularly true for environmentally intensive foods such cheese, high breakage rate items such as eggs, or high spoilage items such as bread. 24 In such cases, the package's ability to protect food against loss or spoilage tends to avoid greater environmental impacts than those incurred by the production of the actual packaging material. ...
... 24 In such cases, the package's ability to protect food against loss or spoilage tends to avoid greater environmental impacts than those incurred by the production of the actual packaging material. 20,23,25,26 A number of LCA studies show that when compared to their traditional counterparts, consumer products that reduce food waste and energy use tend to have lower aggregate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, despite generating a higher quantity of solid waste through single-use plastic packaging. For example, a study on coffee pods showed that coffee brewed with coffee pods has lower environmental impacts than coffee brewed via traditional drip coffee makers. ...
... Organizers who choose to select lower intensity proteins, reducing the portion sizes of environmentally intensive foods, and taking steps to significantly reduce food waste are all likely to result in greater environmental benefits than focusing on diverting solid waste from landfill. 23,68 ■ SHIFTING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ...
Article
This article explores five commonly held perceptions that do not correspond with current scientific knowledge surrounding the environmental impacts of single-use plastic. These misperceptions include: (1) plastic packaging is the largest contributor to the environmental impact of a product; (2) plastic has the most environmental impact of all packaging materials; (3) reusable products are always better than single-use plastics; (4) recycling and composting should be the highest priority; (5) "zero waste"efforts that eliminate single-use plastics minimize the environmental impacts of an event. This paper highlights the need for environmental scientists and engineers to put the complex environmental challenges of plastic waste into better context, integrating a holistic, life cycle perspective into research efforts and discussions that shape public policy.
... One of the most difficult aspects of LCA of food packaging is to appropriately capture the performance of packaging materials with respect to food waste (Heard et al., 2019;Heller et al., 2019;Kan and Miller, 2022). With unique physical properties to be able to product preservation, plastics can often improve the shelf life of specific foods better than other packaging alternatives, and food production can be environmentally intensive, particularly in the context of meat or dairy. ...
... When reducing plastic increases the consumption of another material, there are likely tradeoffs that will occur (Lindh et al., 2016). When material substitutes or indirect consequences occur as a result of plastic elimination (i.e., increased food waste), the aggregate impact on the environment is not guaranteed to be favorable (Silvenius et al., 2014;Heller et al., 2019). In contrast to the aggregate approach, LCA practitioners tend to focus on the environmental impacts of plastic in comparison to other alternatives rather than the aggregate impacts of plastic. ...
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Plastic is a ubiquitous material that has caused major environmental impacts. Ecosystem damage from improperly disposed plastic waste is the most visible of these impacts; however, plastic also has less visible environmental impacts throughout its supply chain. At the same time, plastic is not unique in possessing severe, often invisible, environmental impacts that occur throughout its life cycle. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a helpful tool can be used to contextualize the environmental impacts of plastic compared with alternative solutions or material substitutes. LCA can broaden our understanding of the environmental impacts of a product beyond what is the most obvious and visible, taking a comprehensive view that encompasses raw material extraction, manufacturing, transportation, use, and end-of-life. LCA can be used to target specific areas for improvement, understand and evaluate tradeoffs among different materials, and can be helpful to avoid environmental problem-shifting. This review provides an overview of the LCA process and describes the benefits and limitations of LCA methods as they pertain to plastic and plastic waste. This paper summarizes major trends that are observed in prior LCA studies, along with a discussion of how LCA can best be used to help resolve the plastics problem without causing other unintended issues. The life cycle perspective analyzes the environmental impact associated with a specific product, often comparing the environmental impacts of one alternative to another. An alternative perspective analyzes the aggregated environmental impacts of the entire plastic sector, analyzing the full scope and scale of plastics in the environment. Both perspectives provide meaningful data and insights, yet each provides an incomplete understanding of the plastics problem. The comparative LCA perspective and the aggregated environmental impact perspective can complement one another and lead to overall improved environmental outcomes when used in tandem. The discussion highlights that reduced consumption of the underlying need for plastic is the only way to ensure reduced environmental impacts, whereas interventions that promote material substitution and or incentivize shifts toward other kinds of consumption may result in unintended environmental consequences.
... The literature reflects this complexity, as studies have examined consumer perceptions [28,29], the life-cycle impacts of food packaging (e.g. [7]; [30][31][32]) and the governance of the packaging industry [33,34]. Studies into the governance of food packaging have concluded that the governance of food packaging is challenging because of surrounding ambiguity; food packaging governance exists in-between food, plastics, and circular economy discussions [33]. ...
... This study is particularly interested in examining the three related questions regarding sustainability and how they appear in food packaging innovation. Examining their role in food packaging innovation can be useful, as implementing sustainability into innovation processes may aid in solving global challenges [30]. As discussed above, food packaging interlinks several complex issues from marine plastic pollution to food loss and waste in the food supply chain, offering an interesting look into the persistent sustainability issues innovation could seek solutions to. ...
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Without food packaging, the global food supply chain could not function. Packaged food products are protected in transportation and retail, reducing food waste. Packaging is also a visible feature of environmental debates, as concerns over solid waste have become a part of public discussion. Responding to both challenges requires the packaging sector to develop and adopt sustainable innovations. This study seeks to understand the role of sustainability in food packaging innovation through expert interviews. The results of this study aid in clarifying actor roles for innovation processes in the packaging sector through encouraging collaboration and integrating socioeconomic dimensions of sustainability into innovation. The findings suggest that actors are primarily concerned with the ecological sustainability of packaging while economic or social factors in sustainable innovation play a more minor role. Finally, the study finds that much responsibility over developing innovations is placed on governmental organizations and brand owners in the food and beverage industry.
... Currently, plastic is the most applicable raw material in the plastic food packaging industry. Although plastic packaging has brought a lot of convenience to people, the very serious contamination is caused by non-degradable plastics [1]. Nowadays, foodborne bacteria cause the foodborne illnesses around the world. ...
... The adaptability of chitosan to the environment is related to its non-toxicity to humans and biodegradability. Further, chitosan demonstrates the antioxidant and antimicrobial activities and can produce the films with high quality [1,7]. In this regard, Mehdizadeh et al. [8] reported the chitosanzein coating could retard spoilage of rainbow trout fish meat by decreasing in thiobarbituric acid reactive substances and peroxide value index. ...
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In this study, the chitosan (1% w/v) was hydrated in an aqueous solution of glacial acetic acid (1% w/v) by using a magnetic stirrer and mixed with glycerol (0.75% v/v), as a plasticizer. The four types of chitosan films were fabricated by adding 1.5% cinnamaldehyde and 0.05% ε-poly-l-lysine, and the mechanical, physical and antibacterial properties of the treatments were determined. Mechanical results indicated that the addition of cinnamaldehyde significantly increased the tensile strength and decreased the elongation at break. Moreover, the addition of cinnamaldehyde increased the thickness and decreased water solubility, moisture and water vapor permeability. FT-IR showed the formation of Schiff base and hydrogen bonds between the functional groups of the components, which improved the mechanical and physical properties of the treatments. Changes in the surface of the films were evaluated by SEM images. Further, the antimicrobial activity of the films containing cinnamaldehyde and ε-poly-l-lysine was confirmed against gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium and gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis. Based on the results, the films containing cinnamaldehyde and ε-poly-l-lysine can be used as the functional packaging for food products.
... On the other hand, packaging can also represent an opportunity to reduce impacts from food by avoiding food waste (Heller et al., 2019). At the consumption stage, 20-25% of household food waste can be related to packaging design attributes (Williams et al., 2012). ...
... Food waste is highly influenced by primary packaging design, its materials, and date labeling schemes (de la Caba et al., 2019;Heller et al., 2019). ...
Article
Packaging is fundamental for food preservation and transportation but generates an environmental burden from its production and end‐of‐life management. This review evaluates packaging contribution to the environmental performance of seafood products. Life cycle assessment (LCA) studies were evaluated by both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The qualitative analysis assessed how direct (e.g., packaging material) and indirect impacts (e.g., influence on seafood loss and waste) have been considered, while the quantitative analysis evaluated packaging contribution to products’ weight and climate change impact. Qualitative analysis revealed that seafood LCAs focus mainly on direct environmental impacts arising from packaging materials, for which some articles conducted sensitivity analysis to assess materials substitution. Recycling was found to be the most common recommendation to diminish direct potential environmental impacts arising from packaging end‐of‐life. However, standardized recovery rates and other end‐of‐life options (e.g., reuse), should be considered. Quantitative analysis revealed that cans' production contributes significantly to the overall climate change impact for canned products. On average, it contributes to 42% of a product's climate change impact and 27% of a product's weight. Packaging has a lower contribution when considering freezing, chilling, and other post‐harvesting processing. It represents on average less than 5% of a product's climate change impact (less than 1 kg CO2 eq/kg) and 6% of a product's weight. Packaging material production is more relevant to aluminum, tinplate, and glass than for plastic and paper. Therefore, it is essential to accurately include these materials and their associated processes in inventories to improve the environmental assessment of seafood products.
... Considering the environmental impact, this is much higher for producing the food itself than the (multi-layer) plastic packaging. Therefore, if food waste occurs, the negative overall environmental impact rises with every step in the supply chain due to more used resources [8,66,68]. An analysis of the food supply chain and the points where food waste is generated showed that reducing packaging is important, but it must still fulfil its duty of protection as the main criteria for sustainability. ...
... An analysis of the food supply chain and the points where food waste is generated showed that reducing packaging is important, but it must still fulfil its duty of protection as the main criteria for sustainability. Otherwise, the supply chain overall will be less sustainable [24,68,69]. ...
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Featured Application: Exploitation of renewable resources and plant extracts for the development of sustainable materials used for active food packaging. Abstract: The promotion of sustainable packaging is part of the European Green Deal and plays a key role in the EU's social and political strategy. One option is the use of renewable resources and biomass waste as raw materials for polymer production. Lignocellulose biomass from annual and perennial industrial crops and agricultural residues are a major source of polysaccharides, proteins, and lignin and can also be used to obtain plant-based extracts and essential oils. Therefore, these biomasses are considered as potential substitute for fossil-based resources. Here, the status quo of bio-based polymers is discussed and evaluated in terms of properties related to packaging applications such as gas and water vapor permeability as well as mechanical properties. So far, their practical use is still restricted due to lower performance in fundamental packaging functions that directly influence food quality and safety, the length of shelf life, and thus the amount of food waste. Besides bio-based polymers, this review focuses on plant extracts as active packaging agents. Incorporating extracts of herbs, flowers, trees, and their fruits is inevitable to achieve desired material properties that are capable to prolong the food shelf life. Finally, the adoption potential of packaging based on polymers from renewable resources is discussed from a bioeconomy perspective.
... 15−17 The contribution of packaging in the overall supply chain environmental impacts of food systems can vary substantially, primarily because of the production-related impacts of individual foods. 18,19 Therefore, waste reduction of food with a higher global warming potential, such as meat and dairy, could be a motivator to use proper packaging materials, even at the cost of higher packaging-related environmental impacts. 12,18,19 Food packaging must act as a physical, thermal, and microbial barrier between the external environment and food product, which has important food safety implications. ...
... 18,19 Therefore, waste reduction of food with a higher global warming potential, such as meat and dairy, could be a motivator to use proper packaging materials, even at the cost of higher packaging-related environmental impacts. 12,18,19 Food packaging must act as a physical, thermal, and microbial barrier between the external environment and food product, which has important food safety implications. 20 The widely held public belief that food packaging is responsible for high environmental impacts contradicts the scientific evidence that packaging facilitates important reductions in wasted food. ...
Article
Objective Identify types of food packaging used in school nutrition programs and competing priorities, barriers, and facilitators for sustainable packaging waste use and recovery. Design Qualitative interviews (n = 20) and structured kitchen observations were conducted. Setting Data were collected from 3 school districts in Northern Colorado. Participants Three nutrition program directors, 14 kitchen managers, and 3 sustainability staff. Phenomenon of Interest Barriers and facilitators for sustainable food packaging waste practices among school nutrition programs. Analysis Interviews were recorded and transcribed, followed by inductive content analysis to identify themes. Results Commonly used food packaging included cardboard, aluminum, paper, plastic, and styrofoam. Four competing priorities were identified as impacting school nutrition programs’ ability to reduce or recover food packaging: serving line speed, labor, food quality, and cost. One key barrier was that school staff had difficulty understanding the total system impact of their food packaging use and recovery decisions. Conclusions and Implications Food packaging is commonly used in school nutrition programs, and participants felt that its use offered key benefits, such as facilitating faster serving lines. More research is needed to quantify the direct and indirect impacts of packaging waste reduction and recovery in school nutrition programs.
... Note that packaging emissions are not refrigeration related, and we simply consider it at the beginning of the cold chain. We refer to the study by Heller (Heller et al., 2019) and consider the packaging emission factor (C pack ) is proportional to C food by the coefficient food to packaging ratio (FTP). In other words, C pack equals C food divided by FTP. ...
... The electricity consumption in the retail stage are divided into refrigeration electricity consumptions (E Retail; ref ) and all other energy consumptions (E Retail;other ) (Heller et al., 2019). We calculate the E Retail; ref from the energy usage of display cases where we assume closed cases are used for LT applications while open cases are used for HT/MT products. ...
Article
The cold chain (refrigerated supply chain) preserves the value of perishable products and it is rapidly expanding in China. The environmental impacts of cold chain expansion are of increasing concern but are not well-studied. This study investigated the lifecycle GHG emissions of vegetables, fruit, meat, and aquatic products delivered by the cold chain in China. A lifecycle assessment (LCA) framework based on 1 kg edible product consumed is used. Monte Carlo simulation is applied to characterize the variability of the simulation and sensitivity analysis for 22 parameters are conducted. We found that refrigerated warehouses, the 1st refrigerated transportation, and the retail stage represent more than 50% of post-agriculture cold chain emissions. The results also show that the energy usage of the cold chain constitutes an average of 61% GHG emissions in four fruit/vegetable scenarios, while emissions associated with food losses and wastes are the largest in meat/aquatic scenarios. By accumulating the post-agriculture cold chain GHG emissions, the results show that the cold chain activities can potentially constitute 1-3% of overall emissions in China based on 2018’s level.
... What life cycle assessments make clear is that generalisation about the role of packaging is not possible; results vary dramatically between food types (Heller et al., 2018). For example, where beef is packaged in plastics, the environmental footprint of the packaging is basically insignificant compared to the impact of beef production (Barlow & Morgan, 2013). ...
... But in contrast, for beverages or some types of produce (e.g. farmed spinach) the roles are reversed, and packaging provides the major environmental impact (Heller et al., 2018). Thus, the general policy goal may be to reduce plastics pollution (Schnurr, et al., 2018), but such a goal must be pursued holistically, and with sensitivity to the array of competing concerns. ...
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While plastics play an important role in the safety, shelf‐life, and affordability of many foods, their mismanagement as waste presents a serious environmental problem. In 2019, governments in Canada and globally were poised to take legislative action to curb the use of single‐use plastics, with strong public support. However, the COVID‐19 pandemic has since disrupted those initiatives as well as the public sentiment underlying them. The aim of our study is to measure changes in Canadian consumers’ attitudes toward single‐use plastic food packaging, from Summer 2019 to Summer 2020. The methodology relies on two, representative surveys of the Canadian population, carried out in May, 2019 (n=1094) and in June, 2020 (n=977). Our measures explored potential impacts on consumer perceptions, driven both by new food safety concerns during the pandemic and also by increased price consciousness during a time of economic recession. We found that 55% of respondents were more concerned about food safety since COVID‐19, and that 50% of respondents had become more price conscious when buying groceries. However, we found only a slight decline in motivation to reduce plastics – though with a sharper reduction among males. A stronger shift was seen in attitudes towards policy, where our results show a clear decline in support for tighter regulations or bans on single‐use plastics, along with an increase in consumers’ willingness to pay for biodegradable alternatives. These findings suggest a more difficult road ahead for legislative approaches, but also potential opportunities for market‐based strategies and innovations in the food sector.
... This issue is getting worse with the increase in restaurants, café, or even the bad packaging [4]. Besides, the food produced is more than the food needed and the harvest process is not correctly done [2]. ...
... Food waste causes the changing of animal's behavior, diet, and habitat, it even increases diseases and bacteria [6]. Besides, it generates 3.3 gigatons of CO 2 [4]. Related to poverty and starvation, food waste has worsened the case. ...
... The more meat that is wasted (at retail and consumer levels), the more meat will have to be produced so that the same amount can be consumed (1 kg), and this is without considering the increased need for waste treatments (with the corresponding increased impact). This indirect impact, due to food waste, is usually not attributable to food production, but rather to packaging and consumer attitudes [56,57]. Education and consumer awareness, together with packaging, can play an important role in preventing this waste at the retail and consumer ends of the food supply chain [57,58]. ...
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Despite its relatively low environmental impact within the livestock sector, the poultry sector still faces its own environmental challenges that need to be addressed. The present paper uses life cycle assessment to quantify greenhouse gas emissions, from cradle to slaughterhouse gate, of four chicken meat products: whole carcass, wings, breast fillets, and leg quarters. The main contribution of the present study is that it provides a detailed analysis of different chicken meat cuts, testing mass and economic allocation choices and showing that economic allocation better reflects the causality of the cutting process. We recommend that a distinction should be made between whole carcass and meat cuts, as there are significant differences in meat content and climate change results between these two categories. This is not so clear in the literature, nor in the LEAP guideline for the poultry sector. The study was performed by using disaggregated inventory data from Spain, for the first time. Results show that the major contributors to environmental impact are feed production (>70%), electricity use (10.2%), and fossil fuel combustion (8.1%). Packaging did not significantly contribute to the climate change impact of the chicken products evaluated (0.4–3.4% contribution, depending on the type of packaging and product considered).
... That is not to say that an increase in food packaging automatically means that it increases harm to the environment. Innovation in food packaging has, in some instances, significantly reduced food waste because of the improved microbiological and physical protection packaging provides (Heller et al., 2019). In addition, food waste is reduced by packaging which enables consumers to empty the package more efficiently (Boz et al., 2020;Guillard et al., 2018). ...
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Visual packaging cues might assist consumers making sustainable choices. In a qualitative study potential packaging cues were explored (study 1). Those cues mostly related to sustainability were tested in a quantitative follow up study (study 2). Study 1: Consumers (n = 30, 39.4 ± 17.1 yrs.) were divided in four focus group discussions in which participants completed a free association task and sorting task with 10 milk package designs which differed in colour, material and shape. Next, participants followed a semi structured focus group discussion in which they could elaborate on their answers. Results revealed 7 major themes: 1) nature of material, 2) expected visible harm to environment, 3) possibility to reuse and recycle packaging, 4) unnecessary packaging, 5) appearance of packaging (colour & feel), 6) incongruency of packaging with content, and 7) consumer and industry responsibility. Colour and material generated the most discussion around sustainability and were subsequently investigated in study 2. Study 2: Consumers (n = 104, 26 ± 9.1 yrs.) were invited to an online survey during which they were presented with 4 pack designs which were manipulated in colour (i.e., white, vs cardboard brown) and materials (i.e., smooth vs rough). Cardboard brown and rough pack designs were perceived as significantly more sustainable than white pack designs (F(1,103) = 42.72, p < 0.001) and smooth pack designs (F(1,103) = 97.68, p < 0.001). No interaction was observed between material and colour in the impact of perceived sustainability. Consumers’ perception of sustainability is mostly driven by their belief whether a packaging is recyclable and/or reusable. Visible carboard texture in combination with a carboard look increases consumers’ perception of sustainability.
... Moving forward, industry is encouraged to remember that while both packaging and FW negatively affect the environment, appropriate packaging systems that prevent FW can result in a net environmental benefit (Heller et al., 2018;Svanes et al., 2018). Sustainability is viewed by parts of the Australian food/beverage-packaging industry as a 'Save Food Packaging' function due to packaging's role in delivering sustainability benefits through reduced FW . ...
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Interest is increasing among researchers and industry regarding packaging's potential to reduce household food waste (HFW). Researchers have recommended packaging solutions and the food/beverage–packaging industry have developed packaging solutions; are the recommendations and developments related? This review paper connects academic recommendations to industry practice by identifying and comparing packaging solutions from industry press-release articles to the HFW drivers and packaging solutions identified in primary consumer empirical studies. The review covers a 16-year timespan from 2006–2021, globally, to collect data on packaging functions/formats, materials, and food groups. The analysis shows that industry developments differ from research recommendations. While most of the packaging functions/formats suggested in the empirical literature have precedence for commercial availability, many packaging solutions developed by industry are not acknowledged in the empirical literature. Combining the unique contributions of research within and external to industry creates a fuller picture of HFW, supporting more effective implementation of packaging solutions to help reduce it. There is an opportunity for industry to implement a greater number of packaging formats aligned to the most frequently reported HFW drivers. Enabling greater collaboration between the research community and industry by bringing together this literature in a critical review is a major contribution of this paper.
... Every year, 1.3 billion tons of FW is generated, representing one-third of the global food production [2]. 0.00008, 0.05 and 0.003 billion tons of FW are generated in Australia, India and Hong Kong per year, respectively [3]. The large amount of FW mainly comes from university canteens and mess, office canteens and the food service industry. ...
Article
This paper presents a techno-economic analysis (TEA) and life cycle assessment (LCA) of microwave (MW) co-pyrolysis of comingled food waste (FW). Lab scale (capacity- 1 kg/d) MW co-pyrolysis studies of FW and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) yielded 42 wt.% of bio-oil, 42 wt.% of biochar and 16 wt.% of pygas. The fixed and monthly operating cost of the lab scale MW co-pyrolysis reactor was 10,00,000 INR/kg and 8,248 INR/kg, respectively. The respective cost of a commercial MW co-pyrolysis plant (capacity-100 kg/d) was estimated as 53,12,585 INR/kg and 24,420 INR/kg. It was estimated that with 7 % of the internal rate of recovery (IRR), the breakeven point would be achieved within 4 years. The LCA of the commercial MW co-pyrolysis plant evaluated that the drying and pyrolysis unit consumed 91 % of total energy and contributed most to environmental impact. Thus, emission of 38.92 kg CO2 eq, 48.00*10⁻³ kg SO2 eq, 7.70*10⁻³ kg PO4⁻³ eq, 1100.10*10⁻³ kg dichlorobenzene (DCB) eq and 3.50*10⁻³ kg C2H6 was projected for MW co-pyrolysis of 100 kg FW and LDPE. Overall, TEA and LCA suggested that the commercial MAP plant would provide higher conversion efficiency, lower energy consumption (0.54 kWh/kg) and environmental risk with an attractive economic return by selling bio-oil + biochar at the rate of 40 INR/kg.
... Other processes that cannot be neglected are the electricity consumption of the reconditioning plant, the heating of the washing water, and the use of solvents [84]. Many environmental concerns lie on the packaging, and life cycle assessment (LCA) is considered one of the most comprehensive and complete tools for assessing environmental profiles [70,85]. Category 5, "marketing", encompassed 56 articles (11.9%) published from 1993 to 2020. ...
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The relationship between packaging and sustainability has caused the evolution of literature towards the minimization of environmental damage. The task of packaging professionals is becoming more demanding, as they need to collect information from distinct topics to stay up to date. The aim of this research is to gather information on packaging in the sustainability context to provide a systemic view of the contents, to identify opportunities, and define guidelines for packaging design. A systematic literature review of 472 papers was performed. The first step was a bibliographic search using Pack *, Sustainab *, and eco * as keywords. Secondly, the content analysis revealed the emergence of nine categories grouped in four clusters. These categories and nineteen subthemes were considered research opportunities. Going beyond the coding units of the content analysis, we have used context units to propose (i) the gathering of technical procedures to support the design phases of sustainable packaging; and (ii) the proposition of a framework based on the life cycle stages and design phases. At last, we have provided insights and guidelines that can be useful for packaging professionals.
... Standard values for packaging were based on a review of available literature and overall estimates of the CF of packaging material per kg food [31,39,122,[126][127][128][129][130][131][132][133]. Values were assigned based on general estimates of the types of packaging material used for different food items and the CF associated with production of the material (Supplementary Materials Table S2). ...
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Dietary transitions are important for combating many of the environmental challenges humanity is facing today and reducing the global burden of disease. Different dietary patterns are associated with substantially different carbon footprints (CFs). This study aims to estimate the potential CF reduction on a transition from the current Danish diet to a plant-rich diet consistent with the Danish food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) and to compare results obtained from the use of two different CF databases. Dietary intake data for adults aged 18–64 y from the national dietary survey 2011–2013 were used to calculate the CF of the current diet, and this was compared with the estimated CF of the plant-rich diet modelled for the FBDG. Calculations were carried out using an attributional life cycle assessment (LCA) database (AU-DTU data) and compared to calculations using a top-down hybrid consequential LCA database (BCD data). The transition from the current diet to the plant-rich diet showed a substantial estimated CF reduction of 31% with AU-DTU data, and a greater reduction with BCD data (43%). Ruminant meat reduction was the largest contributor to this CF reduction, especially with the use of BCD data, and other animal-based foods also contribute considerably to the CF reduction, especially with AU-DTU data. These results indicate that the choice of LCA methodology and CF database is important in estimation of dietary CF and for the development of guidelines to promote dietary change.
... Product packaging key features are to limit food spoilage, be designed for user in quantity and ease emptying, as well as show relevant packaging information (Heller et al., 2019). When looking at improving certain packaging characteristics, isolated modifications can have overall benefits on the product performance, but only when the tradeoffs don´t outweigh the benefits (D. ...
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Thesis
Acknowledgements We would like to thank our thesis supervisor, Marco Santos from School of Engineering at Jönköping University and also, we would like to thank all our family and friends who have been very supportive during this whole process. A special thanks to GREENFORCE for letting us investigate this case, especially to Nick Helleberg, and Umut Ölmez for giving us this opportunity and providing deep insights and support when times were busy. This bachelor thesis work has been carried out at the School of Engineering in Jönköping within the area of Sustainable Supply Chain Management. The authors take full responsibility for opinions, conclusions and findings presented. Abstract Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how food start-ups (FS) can make their primary food packaging (PFP) more eco-friendly by identifying and evaluating the performance of suited packaging alternative. The purpose was fulfilled by answering the three research questions: RQ1) How to assess the eco-friendliness of PFP? RQ2) Which are areas of improvement in environmental performance? RQ3) What are the differences in performance across similar PFP's? Methods: To answer the research questions both the literature review and empirical data was required. The literature study was conducted to gather relevant theories about primary food packaging in food start-ups. To get the required empirical data, a single case study was conducted at a case company that suited the subject. The case study consisted of multiple interviews and document study. This enabled for an analysis in the form of pattern matching in order to answer the research questions and achieve the purpose. Findings: The Study found that to assess the PFP that have direct impact on the environment the functional features and the environmental framework play a central role in the eco-friendliness of PFPs which analyzed the requirements for the PFP and a multi criteria decision making approach for the environmental assessment for the Green-PE. The stakeholder expectations were found by analyzing the criterion for the PFP. In addition, a comparison for an eco-friendlier alternative was analyzed with the current Green-PE to justify the performance for the PFP in FS. Implications: The study results present practical implications with assessing the current Green-PE and evaluating the gaps for improvement areas, while also comparing similar PFP which is an eco-friendlier option for food packaging start-ups. As there has been no general theoretical implications, the findings of the thesis can be used as a basis for deeper insights into the subject through more extensive research. Delimitations & Scope: The focus was to identify and evaluate the current PFP environmental impact and not the other aspects of the life cycle assessment since the scope was limited. Also, a single case study was used rather than multiple case studies to analyze the eco-friendliness for PEPs. Abstract Keywords: Sustainable food packaging, Primary food packaging (PFP), Functional aspects, Environmental assessment framework, food startups (FS) List of Abbreviations: SC-Supply chain PFP-Primary food packaging FS-Food start-ups SD-Sustainable Development RQ-Research Question Contents
... Consumers' preferences and choices of products and services can be explained and predicted by analysing the individual values, which constitute the background of behaviour at both conscious and non-conscious level [9]. In a context where data informative to decision makers are commonly accessible only in disparate sources, limiting their effectiveness [10], it is important to recognize the role of consumers in the evaluation of product attributes, who express their preferences considering their personal values [11]. Consumers care about the different aspects of the products they buy and many studies have identified several values that guide individual purchasing decisions: price, health, tradition, natural content, convenience and sensory appeal [9,[12][13][14][15][16][17][18]. ...
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Article
The inhabitants of the world are expected to grow by two billion in the next two decades; as population increases, food demand rises too, leading to more intensive resource exploitation and greater negative externalities related to food production. In this paper the environmental impact of meals provided in school canteens are analysed through the Life Cycle Assessment methodology, in order to evaluate the GHGs emissions released by food production. Meals, and not just individual foods, have been considered so as to include in the analysis the nutritional aspects on which meals are based. Results shows that meat, fish and dairy products are the most impacting in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, with values that shift from 31.7 and 24.1 kg CO2 eq for butter and veal, to 2.37 kg CO2 eq for the octopus, while vegetables, legumes, fruit and cereals are less carbon intensive (average of 3.71 kg CO2 eq for the considered vegetables). When the environmental impact is related to the food energy, the best option are first courses because they combine a low carbon footprint with a high energy content. The results of the work can be used both by the consumer, who can base the meal choice on environmental impact information, and by food services, who can adjust menus to achieve a more sustainable production.
... Better product design is key to facilitate recycling and to increase products' lifetime, while saving resources. Source reduction, recycling and reuse are the ways to implement practically the eco-design of packaging without sacrificing product safety [23,24]. In this sense, the importance of applying a holistic approach to packaging eco-design clearly has been emerged. ...
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Climate change, globalization or marine debris are on the spot of concerns for the most society. Particularly, fisheries are impacted by these and other issues. On the framework of the European Atlantic area, NEPTUNUS project (EAPA_576_2018) tries to provide opportunities for the transition to the circular economy of the seafood and aquaculture sectors by means of a consistent methodology for products eco-labelling and defining eco-innovation strategies. Furthermore, this project will provide key actions for resource efficiency based on life cycle thinking and the nexus water-energy-food, incorporating producers, policy makers and consumers in the decision-making process. This review addresses, therefore, the threats and challenges of the current Atlantic fisheries, the methodologies and actions to be face them and the expected results of the NEPTUNUS project
... Traditional food packaging, although fulfilling its main purpose, negatively impacts the environment (Heller, Selke, & Keoleian, 2019). This is because most of the packages currently in use are mainly composed of plastic films that are non-biodegradable and difficult to recycle (Dilkes-Hoffman et al., 2018). ...
Article
Background Curcumin is an important phenolic compound extracted from turmeric rhizomes (Curcuma longa Linn.) and is widely used as a natural food dye. This natural pigment has several beneficial health effects, such as antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory activities. Furthermore, curcumin is highly sensitive in detecting acid-base reactions and can be used as a pH indicator to monitor food quality and applied as a biosensor in packaging. There is a growing concern about the environmental impacts of disposing of plastic food packaging, which has led to the emergence of natural packaging materials in the market that is biodegradable and edible. Scope and approach This review summarizes the current research on the use of curcumin as a powerful compound for the development of biodegradable and edible food packaging films with smart and active functions. Key Findings and Conclusions The results from various studies show that curcumin is a multifunctional molecule and can successfully be exploited for application in all types of food packaging. Material developed using curcumin can be a smart package used to monitor the quality of food products such as meat, seafood, and beverages or active packaging can exhibit antioxidant and antimicrobial activities that are capable of improving the quality and conservation of food products.
... Globally, the agri-food sector, primary production (agriculture, fishing, and forestry) along with the food and beverage and wood processing, is responsible for a huge amount of emissions in the world. As their key environmental goal, this sector is at the frontline to battle climate change (Heller et al., 2019;Nikolaou et al., 2019;Del Borghi et al., 2019;Colley et al., 2020;Karlsson and Hovelsrud, 2021). Promoting sustainable consumption to achieve international and European environmental mitigation targets, in this sector, is possible through marketing more environmental-friendly products ultimately leading to reducing emissions . ...
Article
The green marketing concept encompasses the consumers' perception and response to the green initiatives and activities that companies implement such as design for environment, green production systems and processes development, and green improvements in packaging. Despite the growing interest in the green marketing domain, few studies have been carried out on the risk assessment of green marketing implementation, especially in the dairy industry. In this study, using a developed integrated fuzzy decision-making methodology, the green marketing risk factors in the dairy industry are assessed. Firstly, the fuzzy analytic hierarchy process is used for weighting the identified risk assessment criteria. Then, a weighted fuzzy inference system is proposed for green marketing risk assessment. Finally, risk mitigation strategies are proposed to deal with the highly ranked risk factors. This research study fills the gaps in the literature by (1) proposing a comprehensive list of green marketing risk factors in the dairy industry, (2) developing a novel weighted fuzzy inference system approach for assessing those risk factors, and (3) providing a final ranking of the dairy industry risk factors together with risk mitigation strategies for the highly ranked risk factors. The level of environmental awareness in society was found as the most important risk factor followed by governmental policies, rules, and regulations for supporting green products risk factors. Finally, some remarks are concluded together with presenting the future works.
... In 2015, R410a and R22 were the largest two refrigerants in HVAC systems by consumed volume (183 kton and 159 kton used globally), and R22, R404a, and R134a were the top three refrigerants in refrigeration systems worldwide by consumed volume (203 kton, 80 kton, and 31 kton used) (38). As alternatives to R22, R134a and R404a are commonly used in refrigeration equipment, and R407C and R410a are implemented in HVAC systems (38)(39)(40). Ammonia (R717) and carbon dioxide (R744) are natural refrigerants that possess low ozone depletion potential and GWP and are also used in industrial and commercial refrigeration systems (e.g., cold food storage, processing, supermarkets) (38,41). In a 2015 study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps (RACHP) represents 86% of the HFC use in GWP-weighted tonnes of CO 2 eq-far and away the largest use of any single market (42). ...
Article
Air conditioning and refrigeration services are increasing rapidly in developing countries due to improved living standards. The cooling services industry is currently responsible for nearly 15% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so it is critical to investigate how the expansion of cooling services will impact future GHG emissions. In this article, we first examine the current status and expected expansion of cooling services worldwide and the associated GHG emissions. Then, we review potential improvements and innovations that could reduce future GHG emissions. Three approaches to reduce GHG emissions within the cooling sector include converting to alternative refrigerants, improving energy efficiency, and moving toward a lower-carbon electricity grid. In addition, we identify eight interventions that apply to the built environment or the food supply chain that would lead to additional GHG reductions in the cooling sector. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Volume 46 is October 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
... Contemporary life, together with new technologies, has led to an expan-sion in the consumption of industrialized products, which are mostly marketed in primary, secondary and tertiary packaging. The production of greater amounts of packaging has, in turn, increased the generation of solid waste [6][7][8][9]. ...
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Awareness about environmental problems has generated interest in the research for new materials in line with the sustainability principles. The recycling of industrial solid waste has contributed to the transformation of environmental liabilities into new products with added commercial value. In this study, the physical, mechanical and thermal properties of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) composites reinforced with polyethylene terephthalate (PET)-coated solid bleached sulfate (SBS) paperboard shavings were investigated according to composite formation process variables: preparation temperature, mean particle diameter of components and reinforcement concentration. Very few studies on the characterization of composites reinforced with PET-coated SBS paperboard shavings have been reported to date. The analyses were carried out based on standard methods published by the American Society for Testing and Materials. The results indicate an increase in the moisture content and water absorption occurred as a function of the increase in the reinforcement. With regard to the density, there was no significant influence of variations in the granulometry or concentration of the PET-coated SBS paperboard shavings. Composites formed with particles of 0.73 mm at 140 ºC presented satisfactory tensile and flexural strength, compared with the values for the LDPE resin. Composites with 20% reinforcement formed by particles of 4.05 mm at 140 ºC showed 14% improvement in impact resistance properties. The thermal analysis indicated that shavings degradation occurred at 190 °C. Thus lower temperatures need to be applied in the processing of this composite material. The processing conditions of the composites resulted in different performance for each evaluated property. The use of the composite in manufacturing products must follow the process conditions that will provide to material the desirable level of properties for the best performance of the final product. Keywords Lignocellulosic fibers; Low-density polyethylene; Polymer-matrix composites; Sustainability
... Every technology with proven efficacy to reduce FLW have inevitably a beneficial impact on the environmental assessment of the overall food chain which remains to be determined (Silvenius et al., 2014;Dilkes-Hoffman et al., 2018;Mattsson et al., 2018). Given the high environmental cost of primary production, every FLW reduction means automatically high net savings on the environmental balance (Williams and Wikström, 2011;Eberle and Fels, 2016;Heller et al., 2019). This benefice must be put into balance with the environmental impact of the technology itself. ...
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Article
Packaging play a key role on food quality preservation and shelf-life increase. Even if the link between shelf life and food loss has not yet clearly been formalized, it is generally observed that a well-designed packaging contributes to reduce food loss and waste and thus the corresponding useless negative impact that producing and distributing uneaten or inedible food has on our environment and economy. In order to anticipate the usage benefit of a given packaging, decision making tools are needed to be developed. While some authors’ separately showed the importance of shelf life model, food loss and waste prediction model and Life Cycle Analysis, so far no connection was really made between them. In this context, this paper aims to analyze the different mathematical modelling approaches proposed in the available scientific literature, from the prediction of food shelf life gain thanks to well-designed packaging to the environmental benefice due to the decrease of food loss and waste. The article presents a review of 29 models developed on this thematic during the last two decades. The analyzed models were split in three categories: (1) the food shelf life models, (2) the models linking shelf life to food loss and waste and (3) the Life Cycle Analysis including direct (production, processing and end of life) and indirect (food loss and waste) packaging environmental impacts. In one hand, the review showed that if many predicting approaches were conducted to assess food shelf life, only few of them were enough mechanistic (by coupling mass transfer to food deterioration) to be used in other conditions than the ones initially studied. Moreover, the consumers’ practices and believes being strongly influent on the quantity of food waste at household, it should be more systematically integrated in the food loss and waste estimation for a fairer evaluation. On the other hand, this review highlighted that even if indirect environmental benefit of packaging, e.g. through food loss and waste decrease, is more and more integrated in life cycle analyses of the food packaging system, most of studies were only based on rough estimation and not on real quantification of the food loss and waste reduction obtained thanks to the well-designed packaging. Therefore, further research is needed to facilitate the representation/quantification of the links between shelf life increase for packed food, resulting food loss and waste reduction and environmental benefit to support the packaging sectors to choose and validate the best packaging solution to decrease the environmental impact of food/packaging system.
... It is highly important to minimize the impact of the food system on the environment [139]. Humanity's wellbeing and global resources are threatened by the effects of climate change caused by pollution [140,141]. Despite the fact that a better organization and a more efficient and equitable utilization of the food will solve some of the problems, urgent and innovative solutions need to be applied in order to decrease the amount of food and food-related waste [142]. ...
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Article
Food packaging is an area of interest not just for food producers or food marketing, but also for consumers who are more and more aware about the fact that food packaging has a great impact on food product quality and on the environment. The most used materials for the packaging of food are plastic, glass, metal, and paper. Still, over time edible films have become widely used for a variety of different products and different food categories such as meat products, vegetables, or dairy products. For example, proteins are excellent materials used for obtaining edible or non-edible coatings and films. The scope of this review is to overview the literature on protein utilization in food packages and edible packages, their functionalization, antioxidant, antimicrobial and antifungal activities, and economic perspectives. Different vegetable (corn, soy, mung bean, pea, grass pea, wild and Pasankalla quinoa, bitter vetch) and animal (whey, casein, keratin, collagen, gelatin, surimi, egg white) protein sources are discussed. Mechanical properties, thickness, moisture content, water vapor permeability, sensorial properties, and suitability for the environment also have a significant impact on protein-based packages utilization.
... Widespread adoption of spoilage prevention packaging has net environmental benefits in terms of land use, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions averted (Fig. 1), although it is the intervention with the highest energy and resource requirement. Although the total amount of energy used is still reduced when considering all products together, for some food products, the environmental cost of additional packaging may outweigh the waste reduction benefit (Heller et al., 2019). ...
Article
At least 30% of food is wasted during the journey from farm to processor to retailer to consumer in the United States, accounting for an estimated 20% of the environmental impact of the food system. The food waste problem is well characterized, but solutions are not: there has been little rigorous comparison of the costs and potential benefits of food waste reduction interventions. Food waste reduction is often described as a “win–win,” benefiting consumers, the environment, and businesses’ bottom line. We present a method for evaluating this claim by accounting for the costs and environmental benefits of food waste reduction. The procedure involves assembling data on costs and efficacy of the intervention, scaling the costs up to the national level, estimating the quantity and value of food waste averted, and finally estimating the potential averted environmental impact. We apply our method to four representative nationwide interventions: consumer education and public awareness campaigns, spoilage prevention packaging for produce and meat, standardization of date labels, and foodservice waste tracking systems. The estimated annual cost of each intervention varied from $126 to $595 million. The environmental cost-effectiveness of the interventions varied two- to threefold (for example, 6 to 16 kg CO2 reduced per $1 invested). Outstanding questions include how to scale interventions to the national level and how to address the mismatch between who incurs the costs of implementation and who benefits. Our method can be adapted to waste interventions across the food system and in countries beyond the United States.
... In this regard, shifting to more vegetable and fruit rich diets would not necessarily reduce food waste quantity since these food categories generate usually high amount of avoidable waste, but in general fruit and vegetables production have less impact on the environment compared to animal products (Nemecek et al., 2016;Poore and Nemecek, 2018;Sinkko et al., 2019). Another option for waste prevention is represented by improving packaging technologies to maximize the shelf life of perishable products (Heller et al., 2018;Molina-Besch et al., 2019;Nemecek et al., 2016). Following the principles of waste hierarchy, recycling food waste into animal feed and compost is a good option when prevention is not possible. ...
Article
Ensuring access to food for the most vulnerable is one of the objectives of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Rethinking food production and distribution systems in light of this need makes it imperative to limit the environmental burden of food supply chains to meet the increasing demand of a rapidly growing world population. One of the most important problems of food supply chains is food waste, which leads to a huge waste of resources for the production of foodstuffs that end up not fulfilling the function for which they were produced. A powerful strategy to address this problem is the recovery and redistribution of food that is still edible to socially and economically disadvantaged people. In this article Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is applied to the study of environmental burdens and benefits of food redistribution following attributional and consequential LCA approaches. Data on surplus food recovered is collected from local charities and the impact of their activities is compared with that of the treatment of food waste by incineration, anaerobic digestion and composting. All midpoint impact categories of ReCiPe (hierarchist) are considered in life cycle impact assessment of 1 kg of food wasted or donated. The study highlights the great variability of recovered food locally, with respect to quantity and type. The life cycle of surplus animal-based food has the greatest impact (e.g. up to 70% kg CO2 eq/kg in waste treatment scenario). Food donation reduces the average impact of the studied systems (e.g. 1.9 kg CO2 eq/kg net environmental benefit). However, efficient mechanisms of recovery and redistribution are required, in terms of sizing, consumptions and logistics, to ensure a significant environmental improvement over food waste treatment.
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A 5-scale label that relativizes the environmental impact of a given product referred to the impact of the European food basket is proposed. It was developed based on the Product Environmental Footprint methodology with the following stepwise approach. First, a set of normalization and weighting factors were defined to aggregate all the environmental impact categories into a single dimensionless index referred to as the European food basket, coined the European Food Environmental Footprint Single Index (EFSI). Next, the effectiveness of the EFSI index was evaluated by assessing the distribution of the EFSI results on 149 hypothetical food items and comparing it with the results obtained with EC Single Score. Finally, the thresholds to translate the EFSI index into the 5-scale Enviroscore (A, B, C, D, and E) were established and validated using the Delphi method. Results indicated that both, Enviroscore and EFSI, were able to account for impact variability between and within food products. Differences on the final score were observed due to the type of products (vegetables vs. animal products), the country of origin and the mean of transportation. Regarding country of origin, results indicated that differences in water stress impact category were better captured by the EFSI index ( r = 0.624) than by the EC Single Score ( r = 0.228). Finally, good agreement achieved with the Delphi method (weighted Kappa 0.642; p = 0.0025), ensures the acceptability of the Enviroscore. In conclusion, this study developed a method to communicate environmental impact assessment in a front-of-packaging label.
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Expensive biodegradable packaging as a preventative measure against continued accumulation of plastic waste in our environment is often in conflict with the need for high performing packaging materials that prevent...
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This study aims to compare the environmental impact of three food packaging systems (Overwrap: OW, High Oxygen Modified Atmosphere Packaging: MAP and Vacuum Skin: VS) currently used in beef meat market, including the potential waste effect that derives from shorter shelf-life in the inventory and assessment. The Life cycle Assessment method was used, and a “cradle-to-grave” approach was applied for both packaging and meat chains. The functional unit was defined as one unit of packaging containing 500 g of sliced beef. Considering only the packaging life cycle, the OW system has the best environmental performance in most of the environmental impact categories, while considering the potential food waste effects, results showed that the packaging system with the longest shelf-life (VS) represents the best environmental solution. Future eco-design approaches for packaging solutions for food products should consider the ability of reducing potential food waste, as a direct consequence of improved shelf-life.
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A third of food produced for human consumption is wasted on the way from the farm to the table. This is very evident in fruits and vegetables, perishable foods that are particularly susceptible to physical, chemical, and microbiological spoilage, resulting in poor appearance, smell, taste, and texture, as well as a shorter shelf life. This has prompted the exploration of different preservation techniques. One of the proposed methods is the use of biodegradable biocompatible silk-based food-friendly coatings with antimicrobial properties. Recently, several types of silk-based intelligent and active food packaging have also been proposed, proving that silk has many potential applications in the food industry. This review explores spider silk and silk fibroin as potential food coatings and smart packaging for prolonging fruit and vegetable freshness.
Chapter
Sustainability has increasingly become an important driver for new packaging design and innovation. Concerns around climate change, pollution and depletion of natural resources have propelled plastics and flexible packaging into the spotlight. Consumer goods companies are responding with new goals around reducing packaging, increasing the use of recycled materials, reducing the amount of virgin materials and increasing the circularity of packaging. Designing for sustainability begins with understanding what the goal is—reduce, reuse, recycle, etc. This chapter introduces the primary methodology used to quantify the environmental impact of products and their packaging, the life cycle analysis. End-of-life technologies for flexible packaging are reviewed—mechanical recycling, chemical or feedstock recycling and energy recovery—in the framework of the circular economy. Finally, concepts for designing packaging for sustainability are discussed, including incorporation of postindustrial and consumer recycle into flexible packaging, and incorporating materials and features into the package structure that allow for mechanical recycling or composting.
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As embalagens desempenham um papel muito importante na conservação e comercialização dos alimentos, entretanto, suas contribuições foram deixadas de lado em muitas discussões de sustentabilidade. Por muito tempo, foram tidas como um impacto ambiental indesejável e considerava-se que sua redução ou eliminação eram as melhores soluções. Entretanto, pesquisas mais recentes as identificam como ferramentas importantes para o cumprimento dos objetivos de sustentabilidade da Agenda 2030, principalmente do objetivo 12, “assegurar padrões de consumo e produção sustentáveis”. Nesse contexto, o aumento da eficiência dos sistemas de embalagens de alimentos é imprescindível. Entretanto, as peculiaridades desses sistemas são várias e interagem de diferentes formas com os múltiplos atores e cenários do sistema alimentar global, o que dificulta a adoção de medidas concretas em direção ao cumprimento da agenda. Por isso, para melhor compreensão do conceito de embalagem sustentável de alimentos e do seu atual estado da arte, foi realizada uma revisão sistemática desse tópico. Com isso, foram analisados 40 trabalhos de 18 periódicos, produtos da colaboração de pesquisadores de 61 instituições de 19 países, que têm investigado o papel das embalagens nas cadeias de produção e distribuição de alimentos com diferentes metodologias. Os métodos mais adotados nessas publicações foram Revisão, Avaliação do Ciclo de Vida e Entrevistas, inclusive combinados em um mesmo trabalho, dada a complexidade do tema. Trata-se de um problema multidisciplinar que vem sendo abordado no meio científico há um certo tempo, mas que ainda contém lacunas importantes que demandam mais estudos. Os dados disponíveis ainda são limitados principalmente no sentido de quantificar e qualificar as perdas e desperdícios de alimentos associadas a embalagens inadequadas. Além disso, é preciso investigar as peculiaridades dos múltiplos sistemas embalagem-alimento, bem como a promoção do conhecimento relativo às embalagens entre consumidores no sentido de quebrar paradigmas já ultrapassados que focam no seu impacto individual. Dessa forma, foi possível reunir um corpo de conhecimento atualizado e, para além disso, um conjunto de recomendações que podem guiar pesquisas futuras.
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Online retail sales have increased steadily over recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated this growth. However, extensive packaging use in online retail harms the environment. Although eco-friendly packaging is gaining traction, it remains unclear which factors determine consumers' intentions to use that type of packaging. This study uses a goal-framing approach to examine consumers' motives for eco-friendly packaging adoption in online retail. We analyze data from 1,491 German consumers using structural equation modeling. The results reveal that gain and normative motives positively influence consumers’ choice of eco-friendly packaging, while hedonic motives seem to be of lesser importance. The findings contribute to a better theoretical understanding of sustainable consumer behavior as we identify the essential goal frames that determine the intention to use eco-friendly packaging in online retail. We provide recommendations for online retailers regarding the functional requirements that must be considered to meet consumer demands when introducing eco-friendly packaging.
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Packaging has the potential to reduce food waste and contribute to the United Nations sustainable development goal 12.3. Yet packaging is also a household food waste (FW) driver, necessitating packaging improvements. Through a review of primary consumer studies on household FW and packaging published 2006–2020, this study mapped the effects of packaging functions on different food categories to identify packaging-related FW drivers, solutions and research opportunities. Relevant studies are increasing, yet packaging yields less attention than factors including domestic routines. Many studies limit packaging discussion to the aspects attributed to wasted food, with date-labels and overly large pack sizes the most mentioned. Suggested solutions by extant literature include clearer date-labels and more pack size variety. However, research showing the effectiveness of these suggested solutions in households is lacking. Packaging formats and materials may affect packaging functionality and therefore household FW, but studies are lacking. There is therefore scope for household studies to collect more packaging related FW data. In particular, focussing on the effects of specific packaging functions on domestic food practices, with an effort to gather food-group-specific data. More studies in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Middle East and the Pacific/Oceania will provide insights beyond the current Eurocentric focus. These findings contribute to theory and practice within the focus of household FW and packaging literature, helping to extend existing research to support the development and implementation of packaging that considers regional differences in food systems, food routines and preferences for a better chance at reducing FW.
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The food production and supply systems are some of the biggest contributors to climate change, and food loss from the entire food chain aggravates the problem. We developed a model to estimate the GHG emissions from the entire food cycle (production, packaging, transportation, refrigeration, and waste management), and applied it to cherries, onions, and plums, the first time these produce have been assessed comprehensively in the United States. We pulled into the analysis 6 additional fruits and vegetables for which California accounts for more than 50% of U.S. production and which we have assessed at least partially earlier: strawberries, avocados, lemons, celery, oranges, and tomatoes. We assessed uncertainty for 34 parameters through Monte Carlo simulation. The total life-cycle food losses for one unit of cherries, onions, and plums produced are 66%, 57%, and 44%, respectively. The consumer stage contributes most of the food loss for eight of the nine produce. The results show that food loss contributes 19–61%, transportation 14–46%, packaging 11–31%, and farm production 7.7–30% to the total emissions. Alternative packaging was also explored. Polyethylene produce bags substituted with PLA bags can lower the total food-loss-inclusive emissions by only 7%, 5%, and 4% for tomatoes, oranges and onions, respectively. Forgoing retail-provided PE bags for produce that are not pre-packaged could reduce total GHG emissions by 12%, 10%, 6%, 6%, and 4% for one unit of tomatoes, onions, lemons, plums, and oranges, respectively. The GHG emissions for the 9 produce can be significantly reduced by decreasing consumer-level food loss. For tomatoes and onions, more than half of the emissions due to food loss can be offset by forgoing packaging at the retail stores.
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The global food system is essential for the health and wellbeing of society, but is also a major cause of environmental damage. Some impacts, such as on climate change, have been the subject of intense recent inquiry, but others, such as on air quality, are not as well understood. Here, we systematically synthesize the literature to identify the impacts on ambient PM2.5 (particulate matter with diameter 2.5 μm), which is the strongest contributor to premature mortality from exposure to air pollution. Our analysis indicates that the life-cycle of the global food system (pre-production, production, post-production, consumption and waste management) accounts for 58% of anthropogenic, global emissions of primary PM2.5, 72% of ammonia (NH3), 13% of nitrogen oxides (NO x ), 9% of sulfur dioxide (SO2), and 19% of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC). These emissions result in at least 890 000 ambient PM2.5-related deaths, which is equivalent to 23% of ambient PM2.5-related deaths reported in the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Predominant contributors include livestock and crop production, which contribute >50% of food-related NH3 emissions, and land-use change and waste burning, which contribute up to 95% of food-related primary PM2.5 emissions. These findings are largely underestimated given the paucity of data from the post-production and consumption stages, total underestimates in NH3 emissions, lack of sector-scale analysis of PM2.5-related deaths in South America and Africa, and uncertainties in integrated exposure-response functions. In addition, we identify mitigation opportunities - including shifts in food demand, changes in agricultural practices, the adoption of clean and low-energy technologies, and policy actions - that can facilitate meeting food demand with minimal PM2.5 impacts. Further research is required to resolve sectoral-scale, region-specific contributions to PM2.5-related deaths, and assess the efficiency of mitigation strategies. Our review is positioned to inform stakeholders, including scientists, engineers, policymakers, farmers and the public, of the health impacts of reduced air quality resulting from the global food system.
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Today, a wide range of traditional materials are used for food packaging applications and new packaging materials are constantly being developed. Although food packaging materials exert positive effects on the environment by preventing spoilage and reducing food waste, after use, their disposal can remarkably affect the environment especially if the 3Rs approach is not followed. The aim of this Chapter is to give an insight on the environmental impacts of packaging materials intended for food use throughout their life cycle. The highest contributions to the packaging waste were supplied by paper/paperboard (50.8%) that also shows the highest recycling rate together with plastics (about 73%). The Regulatory Frameworks establish minimum recycling targets for various packaging materials. The packaging environmental impacts, evaluated through the application of quali-quantitative methods such as LCA, eco-design and carbon footprint, must be accompanied by the evaluation of the impacts of the food packaging system. Some new packaging solutions contribute to various impact categories more than the conventional ones but, being able to considerably prevent food losses, they minimize the environmental impact of the contained food.
Thesis
Refrigeration transforms food systems. The global integrated refrigerated supply chain, or “cold chain,” impacts numerous sustainability outcomes, from energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to consumer diets and producer behavior. This dissertation seeks to understand refrigeration’s systems-level sustainability implications: first, how this technology influences environmental outcomes and human behavior, but also how adoption and use patterns feed back into how this technology impacts its users and the broader environment. This dissertation begins by building an understanding of the current cold chain’s influence on sustainability. Chapter 2 reviews the existing literature on refrigeration, finding the cold chain remarkably understudied in the sustainability literature. One key environmental tension identified is the trade-off between GHG emissions added from cold chain operation, and the cold chain’s ability to decrease food loss. Chapter 3 compares changes in pre-retail GHG emissions from cold chain operation and food loss rate changes when introducing a refrigerated supply chain into the Sub-Saharan African food system. This study finds cold chain introduction resulting in a net GHG increase of 10% in a scenario reflecting a North American development scenario and 2% in a European development scenario. This analysis also models refrigeration’s influence on food demand and agricultural production: finding an increase of 10% over the baseline when modeling a North American diet, or a 15% reduction with a European diet. Given the substantial influence diet has on food system sustainability, Chapter 4 explores the particular role that refrigeration plays in consumer diet. This study moves beyond Chapter 3’s assumption of convergence to Western diets in development, using data from the Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey and a regression model to isolate the effects of refrigeration from socio-economic variables. In this case study, household refrigerator ownership is statistically significantly associated with lower consumption of starchy staple foods, nuts and seeds, and pulses; and higher consumption of meat and dairy. Having investigated how refrigeration currently influences emissions and diet, this dissertation’s final chapters examine improvements and innovations in refrigerated supply chains. Motivated by a Chapter 3 finding that the cold chain adds more pre-retail emissions than it saves through food loss reduction, Chapter 5 assesses interventions to decrease cold chain emissions. This study builds a more-refined, process-based cold chain model, reflecting a fully-developed refrigerated food supply chain. The largest decreases result from decarbonized electricity, improved supermarket refrigeration systems, or reductions in pre-consumer food loss. The largest emissions reduction from a single intervention is 1.20 kg CO2e/kg (39%) for frozen fish supplied from using decarbonized electricity, and the largest from a tested combination is 1.61 kg CO2e/kg frozen fish from combining decarbonized electricity with a CO2NH3 supermarket refrigeration system. The final chapter assesses the environmental improvements offered by an innovation in the cold chain: meal kit services. Meal kits are pre-portioned ingredients delivered to consumers, circumventing brick-and-mortar retailing. This study finds average grocery store meal GHG emissions exceeding those for an equivalent meal kit by 33%. Reductions in food waste emissions are found to exceed emissions missions added through extra packaging, and that direct-to-consumer delivery provides additional emissions reductions. This dissertation examines several key sustainability implications of cold chain expansion and innovation. The complex interactions between cold chain technology and consumer behavior underscores the need to take a systems perspective when examining sustainability outcomes from future food supply chain developments.
Article
The applicability of waste to energy conversion technique is facing many issues because of current waste management practices. Focusing on the segregation issue of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) from food waste (FW), microwave (MW) co-pyrolysis of FW and LDPE was investigated in this study. Multifactor optimization of the operating parameters, viz., residence time, LDPE in feed and temperature, was done with response surface methodology to achieve maximum bio-oil yield with a low total acid number (TAN). Bio-oil yield and TAN varied from 17 to 42 wt% and 16–45 mg KOH/g respectively, in various experimental runs. The optimum conditions for maximum bio-oil yield with minimum TAN were residence time −7 s, LDPE in the feed-13% and temperature - 550 °C. A quadratic model was developed to predict bio-oil yield and TAN as a function of operating parameters with an error <8.1 %. Addition of LDPE improved the bio-oil yield (by 20 %). The bio-oil also exhibited reduction in moisture content and TAN (30% and 62 %) and increase in pH and higher heating value (HHV) (40 % and 44 %). Sugars (3.09 wt%), alkanes (1.64 wt%), acids (1.07 wt%), alcohols (0.85 wt%), phenols (0.59 wt%), furans (0.58 wt%) and ketones (0.55 wt%) were the major identified compounds in the bio-oil. Thus, the high HHV and chemical composition of bio-oil indicate its potential use in boilers, engines, turbines, transportation fuels and as a renewable feed for chemical synthesis. The main mechanism for bio-oil quality improvement was the synergetic effect of FW hydrocarbon and hydrocarbon radical (•HC) and hydrogen radical (•H) of LDPE. The energy consumption analysis showed an energy requirement of 13.11 kWh/kg for bio-oil production.
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Purpose Food waste at the household level represents a major component of all food waste. Therefore minimizing food waste at the household level remains an important component of the food chain responsibility. This study explores the problem of food waste in Mauritius through an understanding of households' attitudes toward food waste and their motivations and barriers to food waste recycling. Design/methodology/approach The study uses a grounded theory approach to identify thematic categories that represent participants' attitudes toward food waste and the barriers they face to food waste reduction. We used a purposive sampling technique to guide the selection of participants. Interviews were conducted with 14 participants: three experts in food waste and 11 households. The data were analyzed using the tools of grounded theory. Findings Participants' expressed views on food waste included (1) guilt toward wasting food; (2) (lack of) environmental awareness; (3) financial considerations and (4) exemption from responsibility. The findings also led to the development of four themes that defined the barriers participants face to recycling food waste: (1) lack of awareness; (2) space limitations on recycling methods; (3) inadequate policy and (4) lack of time/priority. Practical implications Addressing the problem of food waste requires a holistic approach that takes into account households' attitudes to food waste, their motivation and barriers to food waste recycling as well as the regulatory and institutional framework governing food waste management in Mauritius. Policymakers should try to improve households' knowledge about food waste through educational campaigns. The authorities can provide different types of bins to households freely to facilitate the sorting out of waste and impose a fee for food waste generated beyond a certain limit or provide subsidies to them for handling food waste properly. Originality/value The management of food waste is particularly challenging for small islands developing states because of their unique characteristics of smallness, limited resources and environmental vulnerability. Appropriate interventions to reduce household food waste require place-based and geographically sensitive analyses that take into account the specificities of local food and waste management systems and cultural norms with respect to food. However, there is not only a paucity of research on household food waste, but most studies have been carried out in nonisland economies. The study contributes to the limited research on household food waste in small islands.
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The promotion of sustainable packaging is part of the European Green Deal and plays a key role in the EU’s social and political strategy. One option is the use of renewable resources and biomass waste as raw materials for polymer production. Lignocellulose biomass from annual and perennial industrial crops and agricultural residues are a major source of polysaccharides, proteins, and lignin, and can also be used to obtain plant-based extracts and essential oils. Therefore, these biomasses are considered as potential substitute for fossil-based resources. Here, the status quo of bio-based polymers is discussed and evaluated in terms of properties related to packaging applications such as gas and water vapor permeability as well as mechanical properties. So far, their practical use is still restricted due to lower performance in fundamental packaging functions that directly influence food quality and safety, the length of shelf life and thus the amount of food waste. Besides bio-based polymers, this review focuses on plant extracts as active packaging agents. Incorporating extracts of herbs, flowers, trees, and their fruits is inevitable to achieve desired material properties that are capable to prolong the food shelf life. Finally, the adoption potential of packaging based on polymers from renewable resources is discussed from a bioeconomy perspective.
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Awareness about environmental problems has generated interest in the research for new materials in line with the sustainability principles. The recycling of industrial solid waste has contributed to the transformation of environmental liabilities into new products with added commercial value. In this study, the physical, me-chanical and thermal properties of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) composites reinforced with polyeth-ylene terephthalate (PET)-coated solid bleached sulfate (SBS) paperboard shavings were investigated ac-cording to composite formation process variables: preparation temperature, mean particle diameter of com-ponents and reinforcement concentration. Very few studies on the characterization of composites reinforced with PET-coated SBS paperboard shavings have been reported to date. The analyses were carried out based on standard methods published by the American Society for Testing and Materials. The results indicate an increase in the moisture content and water absorption occurred as a function of the increase in the rein-forcement. With regard to the density, there was no significant influence of variations in the granulometry or concentration of the PET-coated SBS paperboard shavings. Composites formed with particles of 0.73 mm at 140 ºC presented satisfactory tensile and flexural strength, compared with the values for the LDPE resin. Composites with 20% reinforcement formed by particles of 4.05 mm at 140 ºC showed 14% improvement in impact resistance properties. The thermal analysis indicated that shavings degradation occurred at 190 °C. Thus lower temperatures need to be applied in the processing of this composite material. The processing conditions of the composites resulted in different performance for each evaluated property. The use of the composite in manufacturing products must follow the process conditions that will provide to material the desirable level of properties for the best performance of the final product.
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s Food waste and loss (FWL), although a growing problem in the world, there is limited research especially from the developing country context. In this research, we investigate FWL in the processing and distribution stage of the Nigerian Food Supply Chain (FSC). We propose the use of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) tools coupled with Double Loop Learning (DLL) to reduce FWL. Using case study strategy we explored the perception, understanding and experience of the FSC stakeholders on the effectiveness of LSS tools and DLL to reduce FWL in two case companies. We found awareness, identification of root causes of FWL and taking responsibility as the major steps adopted by the case companies to reduce FWL. We provide insights regarding how DMAIC could support Organisational Learning Theory (OLT) while solving FWL issues.
Chapter
In the food packaging sector, innovative packaging technologies have been developed including active packaging. Thereby, antimicrobial packaging systems have been designed to inhibit the growth of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms in packaged food. In this manner, the shelf life of food products can be extended while ensuring their quality, safety, and integrity. This in turn can lead to a reduction of food waste and thereby contribute to a more sustainable handling of food. Taken into account the replacement of the petroleum‐based commodity plastics by materials arising from biological and renewable resources, this chapter presents the latest developments of sustainable antimicrobial packaging systems for potential food application. The focus is on bioactive substances that have been incorporated into biopolymer matrices derived from renewable resources and that have been shown to provide antimicrobial activity against foodborne pathogens and spoilage microorganisms. Special emphasis is placed on publications where the antimicrobial packaging has been successfully tested on food systems. In addition, the role of active packaging, the functions of antimicrobial food packaging systems, and the most studied bioactive compounds such as essential oils, phenolic compounds, organic acids, bacteriocins, enzymes, and chitosan are elucidated.
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The European seafood and aquaculture sectors are facing important challenges in terms of environmental threats (climate change, marine debris, resources depletion), social development (worker rights, consumer's awareness) or economic growth (market and nonmarket goods and services, global competitiveness). These issues are forcing all stakeholders, from policy-makers to citizens and industries, to move to more sustainable policies, practices and processes. Consequently, an improvement in collaborations among different parties and beyond borders is required to create more efficient networks along the supply chain of seafood and aquaculture sectors. To achieve this, a "nexus thinking" approach (i.e. the analysis of actions in connected systems) combined with a life cycle thinking appears as an excellent opportunity to facilitate the transition to a circular economy.
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Reducing food wastage is one of the key strategies to combat hunger and sustainably feed the world. We present a comprehensive analysis of available data, despite uncertainties due to data limitation, indicating that the U.S. loses at least 150 million metric tonnes (MMT) of food between farm and fork annually, of which about 70MMT is edible food loss. Currently, <2% of the edible food loss is recovered for human consumption. A reasonably-attainable goal of food waste reduction at the source by 20% would save more food than the annual increase in total food production and would feed millions of people. This is an opportunity of significant magnitude, offering food security and resource and environmental benefits with few negatives. Seizing this opportunity requires technological innovation, policy intervention, and public outreach. This U.S.-based analysis is pertinent to other mid- to high-income countries.
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The U.S. wastes 31 to 40% of its post-harvest food supply, with a substantial portion of this waste occurring at the consumer level. Globally, interventions to address wasted food have proliferated, but efforts are in their infancy in the U.S. To inform these efforts and provide baseline data to track change, we performed a survey of U.S. consumer awareness, attitudes and behaviors related to wasted food. The survey was administered online to members of a nationally representative panel (N=1010), and post-survey weights were applied. The survey found widespread (self-reported) awareness of wasted food as an issue, efforts to reduce it, and knowledge about how to do so, plus moderately frequent performance of waste-reducing behaviors. Three-quarters of respondents said they discard less food than the average American. The leading motivations for waste reduction were saving money and setting an example for children, with environmental concerns ranked last. The most common reasons given for discarding food were concern about foodborne illness and a desire to eat only the freshest food. In some cases there were modest differences based on age, parental status, and income, but no differences were found by race, education, rural/urban residence or other demographic factors. Respondents recommended ways retailers and restaurants could help reduce waste. This is the first nationally representative consumer survey focused on wasted food in the U.S. It provides insight into U.S. consumers' perceptions related to wasted food, and comparisons to existing literature. The findings suggest approaches including recognizing that many consumers perceive themselves as being already-knowledgeable and engaged, framing messages to focus on budgets, and modifying existing messages about food freshness and aesthetics. This research also suggests opportunities to shift retail and restaurant practice, and identifies critical research gaps.
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In the past decade, food waste has received increased attention on both academic and societal levels. As a cause of negative economic, environmental and social effects, food waste is considered to be one of the sustainability issues that needs to be addressed. In developed countries, consumers are one of the biggest sources of food waste. To successfully reduce consumer-related food waste, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the factors influencing food waste-related consumer perceptions and behaviors. The present paper presents the results of a literature review and expert interviews on factors causing consumer-related food waste in households and supply chains. Results show that consumers' motivation to avoid food waste, their management skills of food provisioning and food handling and their trade-offs between priorities have an extensive influence on their food waste behaviors. We identify actions that governments, societal stakeholders and retailers can undertake to reduce consumer-related food waste, highlighting that synergistic actions between all parties are most promising. Further research should focus on exploring specific food waste contexts and interactions more in-depth. Experiments and interventions in particular can contribute to a shift from analysis to solutions.
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Sound waste management and optimisation of resource recovery require reliable data on solid waste generation and composition. In the absence of standardised and commonly accepted waste characterisation methodologies, various approaches have been reported in literature. This limits both comparability and applicability of the results. In this study, a waste sampling and sorting methodology for efficient and statistically robust characterisation of solid waste was introduced. The methodology was applied to residual waste collected from 1442 households distributed among 10 individual sub-areas in three Danish municipalities (both single and multi-family house areas). In total 17 tonnes of waste were sorted into 10-50 waste fractions, organised according to a three-level (tiered approach) facilitating comparison of the waste data between individual sub-areas with different fractionation (waste from one municipality was sorted at "Level III", e.g. detailed, while the two others were sorted only at "Level I"). The results showed that residual household waste mainly contained food waste (42±5%, mass per wet basis) and miscellaneous combustibles (18±3%, mass per wet basis). The residual household waste generation rate in the study areas was 3-4kg per person per week. Statistical analyses revealed that the waste composition was independent of variations in the waste generation rate. Both, waste composition and waste generation rates were statistically similar for each of the three municipalities. While the waste generation rates were similar for each of the two housing types (single-family and multi-family house areas), the individual percentage composition of food waste, paper, and glass was significantly different between the housing types. This indicates that housing type is a critical stratification parameter. Separating food leftovers from food packaging during manual sorting of the sampled waste did not have significant influence on the proportions of food waste and packaging materials, indicating that this step may not be required. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Open dating of food products has been practiced for decades, and has been key to achieving stock rotation at retail and providing information to consumers. The open date provides a simple communication tool, which may be based on product quality and/or food safety as determined by the manufacturer or retailer. Date marking is generally open but it can be closed (code intended for managing product at retail, and for recall and traceability), and the terminology and applications vary widely around the world. The variation in date labeling terms and uses contributes to substantial misunderstanding by industry and consumers and leads to significant unnecessary food loss and waste, misapplication of limited resources, unnecessary financial burden for the consumer and the food industry, and may also lead to potential food safety risk in regards to perishable foods. A “use by” or similar date cannot be relied on to indicate or guarantee food safety because absolute temperature control of food products throughout the food supply chain cannot be assured. This paper provides an introduction to the issue of food product date labeling and addresses its history in the United States, different terms used and various practices, U.S. and international frameworks, quality compared with safety, adverse impacts of misconceptions about date labeling, and advantages of technological innovations. Collaboration to develop a simple workable solution to address the challenges faced by stakeholders would have tremendous benefit. Conclusions include a call to action to move toward uniformity in date labeling, thereby decreasing confusion among stakeholders and reducing food waste.
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Food production significantly contributes to consumption of resources and presents remarkable environmental impacts to be evaluated through a life cycle approach. The present paper aims to present and discuss the results of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) performed on 13 tomato based products (tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and peeled tomatoes in tomato juice) produced in Italy by a Group representing one of largest agri-food industry European companies. The environmental hotspots of the whole supply chains of the investigated products have been identified and technical and managerial solutions have been defined. Agricultural phase and packaging production resulted to be the life-cycle stages with the highest impact in all the considered categories. The identified improvement options related to packaging subsystem are the reduction of weight and the switch to different packaging materials. Other improvement options can be adopted in the cultivation phase, such as use of organic fertilizers or inorganic fertilizers with lower nitrogen and phosphorus content, crop rotation and use of efficient irrigation systems. The application of LCA methodology to tomato product systems has highlighted some methodological issues that will be taken into account during the CPC 2132 and CPC 2139 Product Category Rules (PCR) development in the framework of the International EPD® System.
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The US egg industry has evolved considerably over recent decades by incorporating new technologies and production practices. To date, there has been no comprehensive assessment of the resource demand and environmental effects of these changes. This study quantifies the environmental footprint of egg production supply chains in the United States for 2010 compared with 1960 using life cycle assessment. The analysis considers changes in both foreground (e.g., hen production performance) and background (e.g., efficiencies of energy provision, fertilizer production, production of feed inputs, and transport modes) system variables. The results revealed that feed efficiency, feed composition, and manure management are the 3 primary factors that determine the environmental impacts of US egg production. Further research and improvements in these areas will aid in continual reduction of the environmental footprint of the US egg industry over time. Per kilogram of eggs produced, the environmental footprint for 2010 is 65% lower in acidifying emissions, 71% lower in eutrophying emissions, 71% lower in greenhouse gas emissions, and 31% lower in cumulative energy demand compared with 1960. Table egg production was 30% higher in 2010; however, the total environmental footprint was 54% lower in acidifying emissions, 63% lower in eutrophying emissions, 63% lower in greenhouse gas emissions, and 13% lower in cumulative energy demand compared with 1960. Reductions in the environmental footprint over the 50-yr interval considered can be attributed to the following: 27 to 30% due to improved efficiencies of background systems, which outweighed the declining energy return on energy invested for primary energy sources; 30 to 44% due to changes in feed composition; and 28 to 43% due to improved bird performance.
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This paper examines the environmental impacts of food waste and the influence that packaging alternatives can have on causing food waste. This paper presents the results of three life cycle assessment case studies on packed food products. The life cycle assessments were conducted for ham, dark bread and Soygurt drink (fermented soy-based drink). In each case study, the environmental impacts of the products were assessed with different assumptions about the packaging sizes and alternative materials. The studies especially considered the environmental impacts resulting from food waste generated by consumers as a function of the variable packaging options. The food waste of other parts of the production chain of the studied products was also taken into account. A consumer survey was carried out to estimate the amounts of product waste generated in Finnish households connected to the three investigated products. The environmental impacts of the food products, household food waste and packaging were modelled by scenarios with varying rates of household food waste and different waste management options. The results indicated that the significance of the production and post-consumer life of packaging was relatively low for climate change, eutrophication and acidification, in comparison with the production chain of the ham, dark bread and Soygurt. According to the results, packaging solutions that minimize the waste generation in households as well as in distribution and retail will lead to the lowest environmental impacts of the entire product-packaging chain. Therefore, it is important to design packages that protect the food properly and allow the consumer to use the product fully. Copyright
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Purpose This study of seven foods assessed whether there are modes or locations of production that require significantly fewer inputs, and hence cause less pollution, than others. For example, would increasing imports of field-grown tomatoes from the Mediterranean reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by reducing the need for production in heated greenhouses in the UK, taking account of the additional transport emissions? Is meat production in the UK less polluting than the import of red meat from the southern hemisphere? Methods We carried out a life-cycle inventory for each commodity, which quantified flows relating to life-cycle assessment (LCA) impact categories: primary energy use, acidification, eutrophication, abiotic resource use, pesticide use, land occupation and ozone depletion. The system boundary included all production inputs up to arrival at the retail distribution centre (RDC). The allocation of production burdens for meat products was on the basis of economic value. We evaluated indicator foods from which it is possible to draw parallels for foods whose production follows a similar chain: tomatoes (greenhouse crops), strawberries (field-grown soft fruit), apples (stored for year-round supply or imported during spring and summer), potatoes (early season imports or long-stored UK produce), poultry and beef (imported from countries such as Brazil) and lamb (imported to balance domestic spring–autumn supply). Results and discussion Total pre-farm gate global warming potential (GWP) of potatoes and beef were less for UK production than for production in the alternative country. Up to delivery to the RDC, total GWP were less for UK potatoes, beef and apples than for production elsewhere. Production of tomatoes and strawberries in Spain, poultry in Brazil and lamb in New Zealand produced less GWP than in the UK despite emissions that took place during transport. For foods produced with only small burdens of GWP, such as apples and strawberries, the burden from transport may be a large proportion of the total. For foods with inherently large GWP per tonne, such as meat products, burdens arising from transport may only be a small proportion of the total. Conclusions When considering the GWP of food production, imports from countries where productivity is greater and/or where refrigerated storage requirement is less will lead to less total GWP than axiomatic preference for local produce. However, prioritising GWP may lead to increases in other environmental burdens, in particular leading to both greater demands on and decreasing quality of water resources.
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Purpose A life cycle assessment was conducted to determine a baseline for environmental impacts of cheddar and mozzarella cheese consumption. Product loss/waste, as well as consumer transport and storage, is included. The study scope was from cradle-to-grave with particular emphasis on unit operations under the control of typical cheese-processing plants. Methods SimaPro© 7.3 (PRé Consultants, The Netherlands, 2013) was used as the primary modeling software. The ecoinvent life cycle inventory database was used for background unit processes (Frischknecht and Rebitzer, J Cleaner Prod 13(13–14):1337–1343, 2005), modified to incorporate US electricity (EarthShift 2012). Operational data was collected from 17 cheese-manufacturing plants representing 24 % of mozzarella production and 38 % of cheddar production in the USA. Incoming raw milk, cream, or dry milk solids were allocated to coproducts by mass of milk solids. Plant-level engineering assessments of allocation fractions were adopted for major inputs such as electricity, natural gas, and chemicals. Revenue-based allocation was applied for the remaining in-plant processes. Results and discussion Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are of significant interest. For cheddar, as sold at retail (63.2 % milk solids), the carbon footprint using the IPCC 2007 factors is 8.60 kg CO2e/kg cheese consumed with a 95 % confidence interval (CI) of 5.86–12.2 kg CO2e/kg. For mozzarella, as sold at retail (51.4 % milk solids), the carbon footprint is 7.28 kg CO2e/kg mozzarella consumed, with a 95 % CI of 5.13–9.89 kg CO2e/kg. Normalization of the results based on the IMPACT 2002+ life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) framework suggests that nutrient emissions from both the farm and manufacturing facility wastewater treatment represent the most significant relative impacts across multiple environmental midpoint indicators. Raw milk is the major contributor to most impact categories; thus, efforts to reduce milk/cheese loss across the supply chain are important. Conclusions On-farm mitigation efforts around enteric methane, manure management, phosphorus and nitrogen runoff, and pesticides used on crops and livestock can also significantly reduce impacts. Water-related impacts such as depletion and eutrophication can be considered resource management issues—specifically of water quantity and nutrients. Thus, all opportunities for water conservation should be evaluated, and cheese manufacturers, while not having direct control over crop irrigation, the largest water consumption activity, can investigate the water use efficiency of the milk they procure. The regionalized normalization, based on annual US per capita cheese consumption, showed that eutrophication represents the largest relative impact driven by phosphorus runoff from agricultural fields and emissions associated with whey-processing wastewater. Therefore, incorporating best practices around phosphorous and nitrogen management could yield improvements.
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This article presents a cradle-to-grave analysis of the United States fluid milk supply chain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are accounted from fertilizer production through consumption and disposal of milk packaging. Crop production and on-farm GHG emissions were evaluated using public data and 536 farm operation surveys. Milk processing data were collected from 50 dairy plants nationwide. Retail and consumer GHG emissions were estimated from primary data, design estimates, and publicly available data. Total GHG emissions, based primarily on 2007 to 2008 data, were 2.05 (90% confidence limits: 1.77–2.4) kg CO2e per kg milk consumed, which accounted for loss of 12% at retail and an additional 20% loss at consumption. A complementary analysis showed the entire dairy sector contributes approximately 1.9% of US GHG emissions. While the largest GHG contributors are feed production, enteric methane, and manure management; there are opportunities to reduce impacts throughout the supply chain.
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Transport from regional production requires less fossil fuel and thus produces lower greenhouse gas emis-sions. In addition, policies fostering the production of re-gional goods support rural development. Tomato consump-tion has increased fast in Europe over the last decade. Inten-sive production techniques such as heated greenhouses and long-distance transport overcome seasonal constraints in order to provide year-round fresh goods. However, studies that evaluate seasonal and off-season production are scarce. Here, we analyzed the carbon footprint of tomato production systems in Austria, Spain, and Italy using a life cycle ap-proach. We collected data from four main supply chains ending at the point of sale in an average Austrian supermarket. We aimed to identify hotspots of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production, heating, packaging, processing, and transport. Our results show that imported tomatoes from Spain and Italy have two times lower greenhouse gas emissions than those produced in Austria in capital-intensive heated systems. On the contrary, tomatoes from Spain and Italy were found to have 3.7 to 4.7 times higher greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to less-intensive organic production systems in Austria. Therefore, greenhouse gas emissions from tomato production highly depend on the production system such as the prevalence or absence of heating. Keywords Greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) . Tomato . Life cycle analysis (LCA) . Regional production . Transport
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This paper uses the recently published 2002 Vehicle Inventory and Use survey to determine the number of commercial trucks in the categories that are most likely to idle for periods of more than 0.5 h at a time. On the basis of estimated numbers of hours for both overnight idling by sleepers and long-duration idling by all size classes during their workdays, the total fuel use by idling trucks is estimated to be more than 2 billion gallons per year. Workday idling is determined to be a potentially much larger energy user than overnight idling, but data are required before any definitive conclusions can be reached. Existing technologies can reduce overnight idling, but development may be needed to reduce workday idling.
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