Title: Prioritizing and optimizing sustainable measures for food waste prevention and management
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC107135
ISSN: 0956-053X
URI: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956053X17308061
DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2017.11.007
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Food waste has gained prominence in the political debate thanks to the recent Circular Economy package. Up to now the waste hierarchy, introduced by the Waste Framework Directive, has been the rule followed to prioritize food waste prevention and management measures according to the environmental criteria. But when considering other criteria along with the environmental one, such as the economic, other tools are needed for the prioritization and optimization. This paper addresses the situation in which a decision-maker has to design a food waste prevention programme considering the limited economic resources in order to achieve the highest environmental impact prevention along the whole food life cycle. A methodology using LCA and mathematical programing is proposed and its capabilities are shown through a case study. Results show that the order stablished in the waste hierarchy is generally followed. The proposed methodology revealed to be especially helpful in identifying “quick wins” – measures that should be always prioritized since they avoid a high environmental impact at a low cost. Besides, in order to aggregate the environmental scores different weighting sets were proposed. In general, results show that the relevance of the weighting set in the prioritization of the measures appears to be limited. Finally, the correlation between reducing food waste generation and reducing environmental impact along the FSC has been studied. Results highlight that when planning food waste prevention strategies, it is important to set the targets at the level of environmental impact instead of setting the targets at the level of avoided food waste generation (in mass).
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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