Prevention of avoidable food waste may generate important savings in all environmental impact categories, from global warming to the depletion of resources. The findings of this study highlight that, per unit of food waste prevented, the environmental benefits may be comparable across all the sectors of the Food Supply Chain. With respect to Global Warming, prevention may generate GHG emissions savings ranging between ca. 2,300 kg CO2-eq. per tonne (prevention in Wholesale & Retail) and ca. 4,300 kg CO2-eq. per tonne (prevention in Households). All in all, Households and Food Service sector have the highest GHG emissions saving potential, per unit of food waste prevented.
Results further highlighted that food production, mainly in relation to agricultural practices, and associated land use change impacts are the major contributors to the overall Global Warming impact. Such impact is totally related to the type of food items found in the waste.
On an annual basis, the potential environmental savings achievable with prevention of avoidable food waste are significant for all the environmental categories investigated. For example, more than 2 million tonne of GHGs may be saved if 100% of the avoidable food waste was prevented, corresponding to about 3.8% of the total GHGs emission of Denmark (in 2014).
Yet, it should be borne in mind that the environmental savings quantified in this study do not consider potential detrimental effects due to the use of monetary savings (derived from the unpurchased food) for purchasing other goods and/or activities (that may also incur environmental burdens).Læs publikation