Does food sorting prevents and improves sorting of household waste? A case in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper analyses household behaviour as response to changes in waste management systems. The paper discusses the results of a case study from Vellinge municipality (Sweden), where the introduction of separate food waste collection is thought to have a role in reducing the total amount of household waste and improving the sorting of packaging waste. The study relies on data from official waste statistics and a survey of 117 municipal residents focusing on households' perceptions, attitudes and self-reflected changes in waste sorting behaviour. The respondents mentioned the increased environmental awareness and the convenience of food waste sorting among the primary reasons for the perceived changes in personal waste sorting routines. The study also tested the significance of other variables, such as income, employment, economic activity, socio-demographics, infrastructure, waste tariffs, illegal dumping, and awareness raising campaigns. Most of the variables were static and none showed sufficient correlation to the observed reduction of waste collection rates and the improvements in sorting other waste fractions. The analysed case had particularly high income levels, which were the main dynamic variable under study. The analysis suggests that we may be observing an example of a decoupling between economic growth and waste generation rates. This observation is explained by the Kuznets phenomena and it is being discussed in this paper.


External organisations
  • Kaunas University of Technology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Waste prevention, Household waste, Food waste sorting, Decoupling, Circular economy, Kuznets phenomena
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-192
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch