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Molina-Besch, K., Wikström, F. & Williams, H. (2019). The environmental impact of packaging in food supply chainsdoes life cycle assessment of food provide the full picture?. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 24(1), 37-50
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The environmental impact of packaging in food supply chainsdoes life cycle assessment of food provide the full picture?
2019 (English)In: The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, ISSN 0948-3349, E-ISSN 1614-7502, Vol. 24, no 1, p. 37-50Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

PurposeDue to the urgency and the magnitude of the environmental problems caused by food supply chains, it is important that the recommendations for packaging improvements given in life cycle assessment (LCA) studies of food rest on a balanced consideration of all relevant environmental impacts of packaging. The purpose of this article is to analyse the extent to which food LCAs include the indirect environmental impact of packaging in parallel to its direct impact. While the direct environmental impact of food packaging is the impact caused by packaging materials' production and end-of-life, its indirect environmental impact is caused by its influence on the food product's life cycle, e.g. by its influence on food waste and on logistical efficiency.MethodsThe article presents a review of 32 food LCAs published in peer-reviewed scientific journals over the last decade. The steps of the food product's life cycle that contribute to the direct and indirect environmental impacts of packaging provide the overall structure of the analytical framework used for the review. Three aspects in the selected food LCAs were analysed: (1) the defined scope of the LCAs, (2) the sensitivity and/or scenario analyses and (3) the conclusions and recommendations.Results and discussionWhile in packaging LCA literature, there is a trend towards a more systematic consideration of the indirect environmental impact of packaging, it is unclear how food LCAs handle this aspect. The results of the review show that the choices regarding scope and sensitivities/scenarios made in food LCAs and their conclusions about packaging focus on the direct environmental impact of packaging. While it is clear that not all food LCAs need to analyse packaging in detail, this article identifies opportunities to increase the validity of packaging-related conclusions in food LCAs and provides specific recommendations for packaging-related food LCA methodology.ConclusionsOverall, we conclude that the indirect environmental impact of packaging is insufficiently considered in current food LCA practice. Based on these results, this article calls for a more systematic consideration of the indirect environmental impact of packaging in future food LCAs. In addition, it identifies a need for more packaging research that can provide the empirical data that many food LCA practitioners currently lack. In particular, LCA practitioners would benefit if there were more knowledge and data available about the influence of certain packaging characteristics (e.g. shape, weight and type of material) on consumer behaviour.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2019
National Category
Food Engineering Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-71238 (URN)10.1007/s11367-018-1500-6 (DOI)000457748700005 ()
Available from: 2019-02-21 Created: 2019-02-21 Last updated: 2019-02-22Bibliographically approved
Williams, H., Wikstrom, F., Wetter-Edman, K. & Kristensson, P. (2018). Decisions on Recycling or Waste: How Packaging Functions Affect the Fate of Used Packaging in Selected Swedish Households. Sustainability, 10(12), Article ID 4794.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Decisions on Recycling or Waste: How Packaging Functions Affect the Fate of Used Packaging in Selected Swedish Households
2018 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 10, no 12, article id 4794Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The intention of this paper is to learn more about why consumers choose whether or not to recycle, with special attention given to the functions of the packaging itself, in order to provide suggestions for improvements in packaging design, recycling systems and the environmental assessment of different packaging designs. The study focussed on ten households in Sweden that where motivated to participate in the study in order to gain an understanding of the complex matter of this decision-making process. The intention of implementing an interview-based qualitative study was to gain rich data and to reach beyond the respondents' immediate verbal responses. The respondents were interviewed with open-ended questions, which were supported with pictures of packaging; additionally, their waste bins were examined. This explorative study suggests a set of obstacles that cause consumers to dispose of packaging relating to the functions of packaging. The different obstacles that determine whether or not packaging is recycled were organised according to three different themes: the attitude towards cleanliness, the effort required to clean and sort and uncertainties about the best environmental alternative. The different functions of packaging do in fact influence all of the identified themes and; therefore, influence the decisions consumers make with regards to the recycling of specific packaging. The identified packaging functions were easy toseparate different materials, easy to separate different parts, easy to clean,easy to empty, easy to reseal, easy to compress and communication regarding recycling. Consumer behaviour with regards to specific packaging functions and recycling should be further investigated. It should also be considered for inclusion in design processes, to increase the chance of materials being recycled, and in food-packaging life-cycle assessments, to provide results that align more closely with reality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2018
Keywords
packaging waste; packaging functions; environmental impact; content properties; behaviour; attitudes
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems; Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-71076 (URN)10.3390/su10124794 (DOI)000455338100460 ()
Available from: 2019-02-14 Created: 2019-02-14 Last updated: 2019-02-14Bibliographically approved
Wikström, F., Karli, V., Rafael, A., Olsson, A., Williams, H., Wever, R., . . . Risto, S. (2018). Packaging Strategies That Save Food: A Research Agenda for 2030. Journal of Industrial Ecology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Packaging Strategies That Save Food: A Research Agenda for 2030
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2018 (English)In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, ISSN 1088-1980, E-ISSN 1530-9290Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Summary Thoroughly considering and optimizing packaging systems can avoid food loss and waste. We suggest a number of issues that must be explored and review the associated challenges. Five main issues were recognized through the extensive experience of the authors and engagement of multiple stakeholders. The issues promoted are classified as follows: (1) identify and obtain specific data of packaging functions that influence food waste; (2) understand the total environmental burden of product/package by considering the trade‐off between product protection and preservation and environmental footprint; (3) develop understanding of how these functions should be treated in environmental footprint evaluations; (4) improve packaging design processes to also consider reducing food waste; and (5) analyze stakeholder incentives to reduce food loss and waste. Packaging measures that save food will be important to fulfill the United Nations Sustainable Development goal to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and to reduce food losses along production and supply chains.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2018
Keywords
food loss, food waste, industrial ecology, package, packaging strategies, sustainability
National Category
Environmental Management Environmental Sciences Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-68020 (URN)10.1111/jiec.12769 (DOI)
Available from: 2018-06-25 Created: 2018-06-25 Last updated: 2018-07-25Bibliographically approved
Mattsson, L., Williams, H. & Berghel, J. (2018). Waste of fresh fruit and vegetables at retailers in Sweden: Measuring and calculation of mass, economic cost and climate impact. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 130, 118-126
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Waste of fresh fruit and vegetables at retailers in Sweden: Measuring and calculation of mass, economic cost and climate impact
2018 (English)In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, ISSN 0921-3449, E-ISSN 1879-0658, Vol. 130, p. 118-126Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Food waste is a significant problem for environmental, economic and food security reasons. The retailer, food service and consumers have been recognised as the parts of the food supply chain where the possibility of reducing food waste is greatest in industrialised countries. In this study, primary data on fresh fruit and vegetables (FFV) waste collected through direct measurements in three large retail stores in Sweden were analysed from the perspectives of wasted mass, economic cost and climate impact. A method of measuring and calculating the economic cost of FFV waste was developed and includes the cost of wasted produce, the cost of personnel time for waste management and the cost of waste collection and disposal. The results show that seven FFV categories, which have been termed "hotspot categories", contributed to the majority of the waste, both in terms of wasted mass, economic cost and climate impact. The "hotspot categories" are apple, banana, grape, lettuce, pear, sweet pepper, and tomato. The cost benefit analysis conducted showed that it is economically wise to invest in more working time for employees in waste management to accomplish a reduction of wasted mass and climate impact without an economic loss for the store. These results are relevant for supporting the implementation of policies and initiatives aimed at food waste reduction at retail level.

National Category
Environmental Engineering
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-66185 (URN)10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.10.037 (DOI)000423005400016 ()
Available from: 2018-02-09 Created: 2018-02-09 Last updated: 2018-04-05Bibliographically approved
Wikström, F. & Williams, H. (2017). Packaging and Food Waste Behavior. In: Reference Module in Food Sciences: (pp. 1-4). Elsevier
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Packaging and Food Waste Behavior
2017 (English)In: Reference Module in Food Sciences, Elsevier, 2017, p. 1-4Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Packaging saves food by protecting the content from physical and chemical degradation during the distribution and storage processes. However, packaging can do much more than that. This article explores how the design of a package may help, or indeed hinder, the consumer to avoid wasting food. A number of packaging attributes influence consumer behavior. The influence is different depending on the product‘s characteristics and the needs of the consumer. For many products, it might be better to add packaging material, for example, by creating smaller sizes of the product to reduce food waste and the overall environmental impact.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keywords
Packaging, Food waste, Packaging attributes, Sustainable packaging, Behavior, Life cycle assessment, Environmental impact, Recycling, Consumer, Primary packaging
National Category
Materials Engineering Environmental Biotechnology Environmental Engineering
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-67456 (URN)10.1016/B978-0-08-100596-5.21412-1 (DOI)978-0-08-100596-5 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-06-04 Created: 2018-06-04 Last updated: 2018-06-07Bibliographically approved
Williams, H., Lindh, H. & Olsson, A. (2016). Consumer Perceptions of Food Packaging: Contributing to or Counteracting Envir onmentally Sustainable Development?. Packaging technology & science, 29(1), 3-23
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Consumer Perceptions of Food Packaging: Contributing to or Counteracting Envir onmentally Sustainable Development?
2016 (English)In: Packaging technology & science, ISSN 0894-3214, E-ISSN 1099-1522, Vol. 29, no 1, p. 3-23Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Packaging has a fundamental role in ensuring safe delivery of goods throughout supply chains to the end consumer in good condition. It also has great potential to contribute to sustainable development. This paper explores and provides insights on Swedish consumer perceptions and knowledge of environmental aspects of food packaging and elaborates on how these can contribute to or counteract environmentally sustainable development. A study based on a consumer survey carried out in Sweden is presented. A review of recent packaging research emphasizes the protective function of packaging as its most important contribution to the environmental dimension of sustainable development. Contrary to this, consumers almost exclusively refer to the packaging material when it comes to their perceptions of the environmental impact of packaging. Paper-based packaging is strongly understood by the surveyed consumers to be environmentally advantageous, whereas plastic and metal are not. This study further indicates that a majority of the Swedish consumers surveyed are aware of their shortcomings in judging the environmental status of food packaging, indicating a need for guidance; otherwise, consumer choices can unintendedly counteract environmentally sustainable intentions

Keywords
survey, sustainable packaging development, organic, food packaging, consumer preferences
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-39111 (URN)10.1002/pts.2184 (DOI)000366525000001 ()
Available from: 2016-01-21 Created: 2016-01-21 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved
Lindh, H., Williams, H., Olsson, A. & Wikstrom, F. (2016). Elucidating the Indirect Contributions of Packaging to Sustainable Development: A Terminology of Packaging Functions and Features. Packaging technology & science, 29(4-5), 225-246
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Elucidating the Indirect Contributions of Packaging to Sustainable Development: A Terminology of Packaging Functions and Features
2016 (English)In: Packaging technology & science, ISSN 0894-3214, E-ISSN 1099-1522, Vol. 29, no 4-5, p. 225-246Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Packaging has great potential to contribute to sustainable development through its functions. Previous research has indicated a need for increased knowledge among consumers, suppliers, authorities and media of how packaging functions and features influence sustainable development. Previous research also shows the need for a common terminology of packaging functions and features in order to facilitate and improve communication and understanding in development and decision processes. This conceptual paper sets out to identify, collect, analyse and systemize packaging functions and features and evaluate them based on their indirect contributions to sustainable development. The systemized functions and features are expressed in generic terminology. Three clusters of packaging functions were identified from the literature: protect, facilitate handling and communicate. Nineteen packaging features were also identified. They were grouped under the three functions and elaborated based on their indirect contributions to the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development. Fourteen potential positive indirect effects were identified including decreased product waste, reduced risk for human health hazards, increased handling and transport efficiency. Decreased product waste was generated by 13 of the features and was thus the most frequently appearing. Reducing waste is thereby indicated to be a manifold matter, but also one of great potential. The proposed terminology can contribute to an increased understanding of how packaging can actually contribute to sustainable development. In a theoretical context, this paper attempts to complement earlier work in sustainable packaging development by its emphasis on the indirect contributions of packaging to sustainable development.

Keywords
sustainable packaging development, packaging functions, packaging features, indirect effects of packaging, literature review
National Category
Environmental Engineering
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-42615 (URN)10.1002/pts.2197 (DOI)000375104800002 ()
Available from: 2016-06-03 Created: 2016-06-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
Wickholm, K., Williams, H., Lindström, A., Lorentzon, A. & Wikström, F. (2016). Innovative packaging for reduction of food waste from producer to consumer. In: : . Paper presented at IAPRI 20th World conference on packaging : innovation, development and sustainability in packaging, Campinas/San Paolo, Brazil, June 12-15, 2016.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Innovative packaging for reduction of food waste from producer to consumer
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2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Increasing population and environmental changes poses a significant pressure on the global food supply chain. With the large quantities of food waste that’s been reported over the past couple of years packaging can play a more significant role in reducing the food wastage. Together with actors along the entire value chain we are developing new innovative packaging solutions to reduce food waste throughout the value chain, from food producers to consumers. The purpose of the study is to design and optimize new packaging system solutions so that no part of the chain is optimized at the expense of any other part. In the fall of 2015 the food wastage was examined in three supply chains, salsa in glass jar (A), rice pudding in plastic packaging (B) and lettuce in plastic packaging (C), by using waste audits in the businesses, collecting, comparing and analyzing data. For consumer insights ethnographic studies was used in ten Swedish households. Interviews have also been conducted with consumers in retail stores. The supply chain study indicates little wastage for A and B and higher for C. Consumer report some handling difficulties with the food packaging and reasons why food is wasted. The main reasons being that the food gets bad, difficulties to empty the packaging and that the amount of food is higher than their needs. A majority of the consumer state that they often view packaging as something unnecessary. Consumers do not give packaging functions many thoughts in general and many have difficulties in judging the packaging functions.

Keywords
food packaging, waste, sustainable development, consumer, supply
National Category
Paper, Pulp and Fiber Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-64787 (URN)
Conference
IAPRI 20th World conference on packaging : innovation, development and sustainability in packaging, Campinas/San Paolo, Brazil, June 12-15, 2016
Note

Slides only

Available from: 2017-04-06 Created: 2017-10-26 Last updated: 2018-06-25Bibliographically approved
Verghese, K., Lewis, H., Lockrey, S. & Williams, H. (2015). Packaging's Role in Minimizing Food Loss and Waste Across the Supply Chain. Packaging technology & science, 28(7), 603-620
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Packaging's Role in Minimizing Food Loss and Waste Across the Supply Chain
2015 (English)In: Packaging technology & science, ISSN 0894-3214, E-ISSN 1099-1522, Vol. 28, no 7, p. 603-620Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper presents the results of Australian research that explored the role of packaging in minimizing food waste in the supply chain. The economic, social and environmental costs of food waste have been well documented elsewhere. This research contributes to the debate by identifying opportunities to reduce or recover food loss and waste through improved packaging. In the fresh produce sector, e.g. waste can be reduced through the use of packaging that improves product protection, ventilation and temperature control. Other opportunities include improved design of distribution packaging to reduce damage in transport and handling; design of primary packaging to reduce waste in the home, e.g. through appropriate portion sizes and by reducing confusion over date labels; and the use of retail-ready packaging that minimizes handling and improves stock rotation in stores. An important conclusion of the study is that packaging can have a significant impact on reducing food waste in the food supply chain; and in some cases, a focus on reducing food waste will require more rather than less packaging. Packaging developers must therefore consider the product and its packaging as a complete system to optimize sustainability. Copyright (c) 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2015
Keywords
food waste;packaging;life-cycle impacts;packaging innovation
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-37300 (URN)10.1002/pts.2127 (DOI)000356518300004 ()
Note

We would like to acknowledge CHEP Australia for funding the project – Dzintra Horder, Connie Sellaro, Renee Holbrook and Phillip Austin who managed the study and reviewed the drafts of the report. We also acknowledge Dr Stephen Clune’s (RMIT) background work into food waste and input into the project scope. The research team are also grateful to the stakeholders from the food and packaging supply chain who participated in the interviews.

Available from: 2015-08-06 Created: 2015-08-06 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
Verghese, K., Lockrey, S. & Williams, H. (2014). Districts, Lifestyles and Avoiding Food Waste: Prepared for Banyule City Council. Version 6.0. Melbourne: RMIT University Report
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Districts, Lifestyles and Avoiding Food Waste: Prepared for Banyule City Council. Version 6.0
2014 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Food waste occurs at all stages of the food supply chain and in developed countries around 40% of all food intended for human consumption is estimated to end up as waste. Food waste is a significant concern for local government (Councils), as it comprises up to 50% of municipal waste bins. In Australia it is estimated that households throw out 2.7 million tonnes of food into landfill. 

Food waste occurs through everyday practices of buying, cooking and storing. To reduce food waste, it has been suggested that these everyday practices may need to be shifted. Therefore understanding food waste is less about what is being put in the bin, and more about the upstream practices that are being performed that generate the waste. 

The study investigated practices relating to the purchase, storage, preparation and disposal of food, over one week, in twenty-four households within three key districts in Banyule City Council (Ivanhoe, West Heidelberg and Greensborough) in order to gain insights to develop targeted programs to strategically reduce food waste across municipalities. Households were recruited through Banyule City Council via a range of mediums (i.e., newspaper, the waste education networks and social media) and participated through a mix of face to face interviews and completion of a household food and food waste diary and data collection kit over one week in 2013.

The distributed paper-based data collection kit consisted of a household food and food waste diary with 6 key exercises including: how they shop for food; auditing of food in the kitchen, pantry and fridge; what is cooked and what is not eaten through day 2-6; follow up audit of uneaten food on day 7; reflection; and changes they will make. 

The project’s success can be measured in a) the development of a food and food waste diary questionnaire and research kit; b) the engagement of 24 households; c) the level of detail in completed diaries; and d) the interest from other municipalities in the study’s findings at a post-project workshop. Data was collected under fresh fruit and vegetables, processed fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, pre-prepared meals, take away meals and home grown food. 

Similar insights and trends from this study have also been observed as per studies in other advanced economies regarding food categories wasted (vegetables, fruit, prepared meals and breads and cereals); and reasons for food waste (‘forgot about item it looks or smells spoiled’, ‘it’s now out of date’, ‘didn’t get around to eating and its spoilt’, ‘didn’t eat left overs’). 

The ‘hands-on’ approach (the actual observation of waste and recording) had a positive impact upon many of the households. Providing residents with the ability to observe; record and report their daily activities, practices and actions around food planning, procurement, storage, cooking and eating may be beneficial (e.g., in accessible ways such as online, web-application (app), hard copy). There appeared little to no difference between socioeconomic groups thus suggesting that there is little evidence for communicating in different ways. Planning of meals is crucial to reducing food waste. Education programs should emphasize this including not falling into the trap of purchasing store specials or buying extra when it is not needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Melbourne: RMIT University Report, 2014. p. 51
National Category
Engineering and Technology Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-33988 (URN)
Projects
Prepared for Banyule City Council. Version 6.o.
Available from: 2014-10-03 Created: 2014-10-03 Last updated: 2018-01-09Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-6469-9947

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