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Potential Environmental Gains from Reducing Food Losses Through Development of New Packaging: A Life-Cycle Model
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science, Department of Energy, Environmental and Building Technology. (Miljö- och energisystem)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6469-9947
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science, Department of Energy, Environmental and Building Technology. (Miljö- och energisystem)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8669-6656
2010 (English)In: Packaging technology & science, ISSN 0894-3214, E-ISSN 1099-1522, Vol. 23, no 7, p. 403-411Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Food losses are seldom included in life cycle analyses of the food packaging system, nor are they included in the debat on sustainable packaging. The development of packaging that decreases food losses does, however, provide an opportunity to reduce the overall environmental impact. In this paper, we present a model that calculates the environmental impact of the food packaging system as a function of food losses. The model can be used to analyse the potential environmental gains from developing packaging that reduce food losses. The model includes food production and processing, transports, packaging, retailer and consumer issues and waste handling. The results show that it can be environmentally motivated to increase the environmental impact of packaging, if necessary, when new packaging design helps to reduce food losses. However, the waste handling systems of food and packaging are important to consider if packaging are developed in order to reduce the environmental impact of the food-packaging system

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 23, no 7, p. 403-411
Keywords [en]
packaging development; LCA; food waste; consumer phase; model; environmental impact
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7339DOI: 10.1002/pts.906ISI: 000283671400004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-7339DiVA, id: diva2:413568
Available from: 2011-05-26 Created: 2011-04-28 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Food Packaging for Sustainable Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Food Packaging for Sustainable Development
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Packaging has been on the environmental agenda for decades. It has been discussed and debated within the society mainly as an environmental problem. Production, distribution and consumption of food and drinks contribute significant to the environmental impact. However, consumers in the EU waste about 20% of the food they buy. The function of packaging in reducing the amount of food losses is an important but often neglected environmental issue.

This thesis focuses on the functions of packaging that can be used to preserve resources efficiently and reduce the environmental impact of the food-packaging system. The service perspective is used to increase knowledge about consumer interaction with packages. Fifteen packaging attributes, for example, ‘easy to empty’, ‘hygienic’ and ‘contain the right quantity’, were identified as influencing the amount of food losses at the consumer. The result showed that there are potentials to both increase consumer satisfaction and decrease the environmental impact of the food-packaging system, when new packaging design reduces food losses. A model was developed that calculates the balance of environmental impact between reduction of food losses, and more packaging material. The result showed that it can be environmentally motivated to increase the environmental impact of packaging, if the amount of food losses is reduced. This is especially true for food items with high environmental impact, e.g. meat and dairy products, and for food items that have a high share of loss, e.g. bread.

I have also explored to what extent packaging can influence food losses in households. The study showed that about 20% to 25% of household food waste was related to packaging. The households noted three packaging attributes as the main causes for food losses; ‘too big packaging’, ‘difficult to empty’ and ‘best-before-date’.

Finally there is a discussion of packaging research in the context of sustainability principles, and suggestions for further research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstad University, 2011. p. 52
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2011:27
Keywords
Packaging, sustainable development, service perspective, food losses, food waste, consumer interaction, life cycle assessment - LCA, consumer value
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7328 (URN)978-91-7063-360-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-17, 9C 204, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Paper IV was still a manuscript at the time of the thesis defense.

Available from: 2011-05-26 Created: 2011-04-21 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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