Food waste and climatic impacts of food consumption - the case of Sweden

Examensarbete för masterexamen

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Type: Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
Title: Food waste and climatic impacts of food consumption - the case of Sweden
Authors: Plataniti, Kalliopi
Abstract: Global food losses and waste have been estimated to constitute 1/3 of global food production. The creation of unnecessary wastage and the pointlessly produced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are among the crucial impacts of this phenomenon. Consumers in developed countries produce a significant proportion of “avoidable” food waste (AW) (i.e. dispose of edible portions of food), while they could play a key role in limiting it, by adapting their consumption behaviour & habits. This thesis investigates the impacts of Swedish food consumption in terms of AW and GHG emissions and potential ways to achieve reduction of both. Waste and emissions are calculated, by making use of data on dietary choices, proportions of wastage and lifecycle emissions. Two scenarios of AW and AW-emissions reduction are examined: A. the maximum reduction potential, if zero AW is produced, and B. a reduction potential as a result of the implementation of an action plan aiming at the major reason of AW observed in the commodity groups with the highest AW and AW-emissions. The results show that if all avoidable waste is eliminated, the yearly per capita edible portion of purchased food would be reduced by 16% and the corresponding GHG emissions by 14%, while the total quantity of food waste may be reduced by 64% (Scenario A). By researching a practical way to limit the studied impacts, an action plan is recommended targeting at two factors: major contributors in AW and AW-emissions and their principal reason of disposal. Six commodity groups (like “meat & meat products”, “fruits and vegetables”, “cereals”, etc.) were identified as “major contributors” in AW and/or AW-emissions; the majority of the detected food items were disposed of because they were “not used in time”. A series of measures against those two factors may reduce the yearly per capita edible portion of purchased food up to 9%, the corresponding emissions by 8% and the total waste up to 38% (Scenario B). The proposed measures (e.g. on labelling or expiration dates) are to be taken within a wider strategy aiming to limit FSC impacts, involving consumers, food industry and other stakeholders.
Keywords: Energi;Hållbar utveckling;Annan naturvetenskap;Energy;Sustainable Development;Other Natural Sciences
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Chalmers tekniska högskola / Institutionen för energi och miljö
Chalmers University of Technology / Department of Energy and Environment
Series/Report no.: Rapportserie för Avdelningen för fysisk resursteori : 2015:20
Collection:Examensarbeten för masterexamen // Master Theses

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