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Reasons for household food waste with special attention to packaging
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science, Department of Energy, Environmental and Building Technology. (Miljö- och energisystem)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6469-9947
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science, Department of Energy, Environmental and Building Technology. (Miljö- och energisystem)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8669-6656
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Service Research Center. Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Psychology.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Business Administration. Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Service Research Center.
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2012 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 24, 141-148 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The amount of food waste needs to be reduced in order to sustain the world's limited resources and secure enough food to all humans. Packaging plays an important role in reducing food waste. The knowledge about how packaging affects food waste in households, however, is scarce. This exploratory study examines reasons for food waste in household and especially how and to what extent packaging influences the amount of food waste. Sixty-one families measured their amount of food waste during seven days and noted in a diary why each item was wasted. Thirty of the families had participated earlier in an environmental project including education in environmental issues of everyday life. About 20-25% of the households' food waste could be related to packaging. Three packaging aspects dominate the packaging related waste: packages that the consumer noted as being too big and packages that were difficult to empty, and wastage because of passed "best before date". The environmentally educated households wasted less, especially of prepared food. They also wasted less food due to passed "best before date". These households were more observant to packaging aspects in relation to food waste. The observations made could be used to learn more about packaging attributes that affect food waste. Although they recognised packaging influence on food waste, these households expressed lower satisfaction with packaging functions and wanted packaging to a lower extent. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2012. Vol. 24, 141-148 p.
Keyword [en]
Packaging functions, Packaging development, Food waste, Environmental education, Purchase habits, Sustainable development
National Category
Psychology Environmental Engineering
Research subject
Psychology; Energy Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38520DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.11.044ISI: 000300476800016OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-38520DiVA: diva2:896783
Available from: 2016-01-22 Created: 2015-11-23 Last updated: 2016-10-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Food Packaging for Sustainable Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Food Packaging for Sustainable Development
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Packaging has been on the environmental agenda for decades. It has been discussed and debated within the society mainly as an environmental problem. Production, distribution and consumption of food and drinks contribute significant to the environmental impact. However, consumers in the EU waste about 20% of the food they buy. The function of packaging in reducing the amount of food losses is an important but often neglected environmental issue.

This thesis focuses on the functions of packaging that can be used to preserve resources efficiently and reduce the environmental impact of the food-packaging system. The service perspective is used to increase knowledge about consumer interaction with packages. Fifteen packaging attributes, for example, ‘easy to empty’, ‘hygienic’ and ‘contain the right quantity’, were identified as influencing the amount of food losses at the consumer. The result showed that there are potentials to both increase consumer satisfaction and decrease the environmental impact of the food-packaging system, when new packaging design reduces food losses. A model was developed that calculates the balance of environmental impact between reduction of food losses, and more packaging material. The result showed that it can be environmentally motivated to increase the environmental impact of packaging, if the amount of food losses is reduced. This is especially true for food items with high environmental impact, e.g. meat and dairy products, and for food items that have a high share of loss, e.g. bread.

I have also explored to what extent packaging can influence food losses in households. The study showed that about 20% to 25% of household food waste was related to packaging. The households noted three packaging attributes as the main causes for food losses; ‘too big packaging’, ‘difficult to empty’ and ‘best-before-date’.

Finally there is a discussion of packaging research in the context of sustainability principles, and suggestions for further research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstad University, 2011. 52 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2011:27
Keyword
Packaging, sustainable development, service perspective, food losses, food waste, consumer interaction, life cycle assessment - LCA, consumer value
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7328 (URN)978-91-7063-360-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-17, 9C 204, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Paper IV was still a manuscript at the time of the thesis defense.

Available from: 2011-05-26 Created: 2011-04-21 Last updated: 2016-08-16Bibliographically approved

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Williams, HelénWikström, FredrikOtterbring, TobiasLöfgren, MartinGustafsson, Anders
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