Title: Sustainable Management of EU Food Waste with Life Cycle Assessment
Authors: TORRES DE MATOS CRISTINACRISTOBAL GARCIA JORGE
Other Contributors: MANFREDI SIMONE
Publisher: ENEA Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC95578
ISBN: 978-88-8286-321-0
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC95578
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Worldwide, up to 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year (FAO estimates), of which about 89 million tonnes were estimated for Europe, corresponding to almost 200 kg of food waste per capita (EU 2010). This leads to significant impacts on the environment, and also determines substantial social-economic losses. To address this issue Europe is creating strategies to improve the management of food waste and, at the same time, find solutions to prevent it. In 2014, the European commission announced the intention of reducing generation of food waste of at least 30% by the end of 2025 compared to 2017 levels (COM(2014)398 on Circular Economy, withdrawn in February 2015. Additionally, Europe recommends the use of Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) when planning waste management systems (e.g. Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC), in order to direct decision making towards more sustainable systems and to decrease the environmental impacts associated with waste management. In this context, the work being conducted is expected to provide a clear and up-to-date overview of quantities and drivers of European food waste generation, as well as an outline of main options and technologies for food waste management / treatment, especially those that have proven to be more sustainable, such as composting and anaerobic digestion. A key goal of such work is also to design a robust framework approach able to provide quantitative assessment of the sustainability performance of European food waste management options and scenarios. This approach, based on Life Cycle Thinking and Assessment, is meant to advance coherence and comprehensiveness of existing LCA-based methods, and to provide an initial evaluation of the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic and social. Applying this approach could also ease the identification of options for improving the overall sustainability performance of food waste management, while minimizing undesirable shifting of burdens among e.g.: sustainability aspects (environmental, economic, social), environmental impacts, life cycle stages, etc. It could also help defining sustainable targets for prevention and recycling of food waste along the supply-chain and, in a broader perspective, contribute to increasing the circularity of the European food sector and the overall economy.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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