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Food Packaging for Sustainable Development
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science, Department of Energy, Environmental and Building Technology. (Miljö- och energisystem)
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. , 52 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2011:27
Keyword [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7328ISBN: 978-91-7063-360-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-7328DiVA: diva2:413913
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: 2016-08-16Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A life cycle perspective on environmental effects of customer focused packaging development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A life cycle perspective on environmental effects of customer focused packaging development
2008 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, Vol. 16, no 7, 853-859 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study explores the possibilities of increasing customer satisfaction and reducing the environmental impact from food-packaging systems in alifecycleperspective using results from a study on consumers' demands on packaging based on Kano's Theory of Attractive Quality. It assesses the environmentaleffects of potential improvements in quality attributes. The results show that there are obvious potentials to increase customer satisfaction and at the same time decrease in the environmental impact of the food-packaging system, especially when the packaging design helps to decrease food losses. There were many connections between quality attributes and environmental impacts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2008
Keyword
Lifecycle assessment; Packaging; Food losses; Customer demands
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7338 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2007.05.006 (DOI)
Available from: 2011-05-26 Created: 2011-04-28 Last updated: 2013-05-02Bibliographically approved
2. Potential Environmental Gains from Reducing Food Losses Through Development of New Packaging: A Life-Cycle Model
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Potential Environmental Gains from Reducing Food Losses Through Development of New Packaging: A Life-Cycle Model
2010 (English)In: Packaging technology & science, ISSN 0894-3214, E-ISSN 1099-1522, Vol. 23, no 7, 403-411 p.Article 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

Keyword
packaging development; LCA; food waste; consumer phase; model; environmental impact
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7339 (URN)10.1002/pts.906 (DOI)000283671400004 ()
Available from: 2011-05-26 Created: 2011-04-28 Last updated: 2016-02-17Bibliographically approved
3. Environmental impact of packaging and food losses in a life cycle perspective: a comparative analysis of five food items
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental impact of packaging and food losses in a life cycle perspective: a comparative analysis of five food items
2011 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, Vol. 19, no 1, 43-48 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The environmental concern and development issues regarding packaging has for 20 years to a high extent been on packaging when it has become waste. To reduce the environmentalimpact from the whole foodpackaging system it is also important to develop the packaging’s ability to reduce food waste. In some cases it may be necessary to increase the environmentalimpactofpackagingin order to reduce food waste. In this paper, the environmentalimpactofpackagingandfoodlossesand the balance between the two has been examined for five different food items. The results show that packaging’s that reduce food waste can be an important tool to reduce the total environmentalimpact, even if there is an increase inimpact from the packaging itself. This is especially true for food items where the environmentalimpactof the food is high relative the packaging, for example cheese, and for food items with high losses, for example bread. It is important to analyse the risk of increasing foodlosses when packaging design changes, for example, when the aim is less packaging material, which is the main intention of the packagingandpackaging waste directive of the European Union.

Keyword
Packaging; Packaging development; LCA; Food; Foodlosses; Consumer; Environmentalimpact
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7340 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2010.08.008 (DOI)000284566000005 ()
Available from: 2011-05-26 Created: 2011-04-28 Last updated: 2012-07-16Bibliographically approved
4. Reasons for household food waste with special attention to packaging
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reasons for household food waste with special attention to packaging
Show others...
2012 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 24, 141-148 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The amount of food waste needs to be reduced in order to sustain the world's limited resources and secure enough food to all humans. Packaging plays an important role in reducing food waste. The knowledge about how packaging affects food waste in households, however, is scarce. This exploratory study examines reasons for food waste in household and especially how and to what extent packaging influences the amount of food waste. Sixty-one families measured their amount of food waste during seven days and noted in a diary why each item was wasted. Thirty of the families had participated earlier in an environmental project including education in environmental issues of everyday life. About 20-25% of the households' food waste could be related to packaging. Three packaging aspects dominate the packaging related waste: packages that the consumer noted as being too big and packages that were difficult to empty, and wastage because of passed "best before date". The environmentally educated households wasted less, especially of prepared food. They also wasted less food due to passed "best before date". These households were more observant to packaging aspects in relation to food waste. The observations made could be used to learn more about packaging attributes that affect food waste. Although they recognised packaging influence on food waste, these households expressed lower satisfaction with packaging functions and wanted packaging to a lower extent. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2012
Keyword
Packaging functions, Packaging development, Food waste, Environmental education, Purchase habits, Sustainable development
National Category
Psychology Environmental Engineering
Research subject
Psychology; Energy Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38520 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.11.044 (DOI)000300476800016 ()
Available from: 2016-01-22 Created: 2015-11-23 Last updated: 2016-10-06Bibliographically approved
5. Sustainable Packaging Development: One Step Further
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainable Packaging Development: One Step Further
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Energy Systems
Research subject
Environmental and Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-7370 (URN)
Available from: 2011-05-26 Created: 2011-05-06 Last updated: 2016-08-16Bibliographically approved

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