Re: Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems - E-consultation to set the track of the study

Shane Vaughan United Kingdom
18.04.2013

 

I am a student studying sustainability and psychology and have recently written an essay on food waste in developed countries. Here are some ideas for long term reduction of food waste at an individual/retailor level.

Education

In order to bring long term change in how food is discarded (and consumed), educating the future generation is critical. Knowledge of food waste issues and how each and every individual can make a difference will bring change.

Encouragement

In psychology, the concept of self-efficacy is known to have an impact on whether people will take action or just give up. It is the notion of whether one CAN do something about an issue. So encouraging and making people think they can reduce food waste may make a difference.

Reconsidering the law for best-by/use-by/display-until dates

Much food is thrown away just because the display-until-date has passed even it is completely safe to eat. I have seen vast amounts of food in the dumpster of supermarkets in my area (Exeter, UK). (Note that not all discarded food is due to the passed date.) If food safety regulations were slightly looser, this may be prevented. This clearly has its concerns, nevertheless, how the dates are set should be reconsidered.

Monitoring

How much food waste is generated must be monitored more closely. This is a difficult thing to do in households, but if laws were made to monitor food loss/waste generated from factories and supermarkets, they will strive to reduce food waste. Major supermarkets in my area frequently try to cover up how much unsold food they are discarding (which is an unacceptable about…daily) by deliberately opening the packaging and mixing everything up.
Also by monitoring, the trend of food waste reduction would be clear, which can lead to encourage mentioned above.