Food waste minimization from a life-cycle perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article investigates potentials and environmental impacts related to household food waste minimization, based on a case study in Southern Sweden. In the study, the amount of avoidable and unavoidable food waste currently being disposed of by households was assessed through waste composition analyses and the different types of avoidable food waste were classified. Currently, both avoidable and unavoidable food waste is either incinerated or treated through anaerobic digestion. A hypothetical scenario with no generation of avoidable food waste and either anaerobic digestion or incineration of unavoidable food waste was compared to the current situation using the life-cycle assessment method, limited to analysis of global warming potential (GWP). The results from the waste composition analyses indicate that an average of 35% of household food waste is avoidable. Minimization of this waste could result in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 800-1400 kg/tonne of avoidable food waste. Thus, a minimization strategy would result in increased avoidance of GWP compared to the current situation. The study clearly shows that although modern alternatives for food waste treatment can result in avoidance of GWP through nutrient and energy recovery, food waste prevention yields far greater benefits for GWP compared to both incineration and anaerobic digestion. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Details

Authors
  • Anna Bernstad
  • T. Andersson
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Engineering

Keywords

  • Waste minimization, Waste reduction, Household waste, Food waste, Life-cycle assessment, Carbon footprint
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-226
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume147
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes