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Assessing the environmental impacts of halving food loss and waste along the food supply chain.
Sci Total Environ. 2020 Apr 10; 712:136255.ST

Abstract

Reducing food loss and waste (FLW) is widely recognized as an important lever for lowering the environmental impacts of food systems. The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda includes a goal to reduce FLW by 50% by 2030. Given differences in resource inputs along the food supply chain (FSC), the environmental benefits of FLW reduction will vary by stage of the FSC. Here, we identify the points along the supply chain where a 50% FLW reduction could yield the largest potential environmental benefits, assuming that decreases in consumption propagate back up the supply chain to reduce production. We use an environmentally extended input-output (EEIO) model combined with data on rates of FLW to calculate the scale of the total environmental impacts of the U.S. food system resulting from lost or wasted food. We evaluate the maximum potential environmental benefit resulting from 50% FLW reduction at all possible combinations of six supply chain stages (agricultural production, food processing, distribution/retail, restaurant foodservice, institutional foodservice, and households). We find that FLW reduction efforts should target the foodservice (restaurant) sector, food processing sector, and household consumption. Halving FLW in the foodservice sector has the highest potential to reduce greenhouse gas output and energy use. Halving FLW in the food processing sector could reduce the most land use and eutrophication potential, and reducing household consumption waste could avert the most water consumption. In contrast, FLW reduction at the retail, institutional foodservice, and farm level averts less environmental impact. Our findings may help determine optimal investment in FLW reduction strategies.

Authors+Show Affiliations

National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), 1 Park Place, Annapolis, MD 21401, USA. Electronic address: qread@sesync.org.Kansas State University, Department of Civil Engineering, 2118 Fiedler Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA.Austin, TX, USA.Leanpath, Inc., 8305 SW Creekside Place, Suite A, Beaverton, OR 97008, USA; Organizational Dynamics, University of Pennsylvania, 3440 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), 1 Park Place, Annapolis, MD 21401, USA; American University, Department of Environmental Science, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016, USA.Kansas State University, Department of Civil Engineering, 2118 Fiedler Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA.U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460, USA.RTI International, P.O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.RTI International, P.O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

32050400

Citation

Read, Quentin D., et al. "Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Halving Food Loss and Waste Along the Food Supply Chain." The Science of the Total Environment, vol. 712, 2020, p. 136255.
Read QD, Brown S, Cuéllar AD, et al. Assessing the environmental impacts of halving food loss and waste along the food supply chain. Sci Total Environ. 2020;712:136255.
Read, Q. D., Brown, S., Cuéllar, A. D., Finn, S. M., Gephart, J. A., Marston, L. T., Meyer, E., Weitz, K. A., & Muth, M. K. (2020). Assessing the environmental impacts of halving food loss and waste along the food supply chain. The Science of the Total Environment, 712, 136255. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.136255
Read QD, et al. Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Halving Food Loss and Waste Along the Food Supply Chain. Sci Total Environ. 2020 Apr 10;712:136255. PubMed PMID: 32050400.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Assessing the environmental impacts of halving food loss and waste along the food supply chain. AU - Read,Quentin D, AU - Brown,Samuel, AU - Cuéllar,Amanda D, AU - Finn,Steven M, AU - Gephart,Jessica A, AU - Marston,Landon T, AU - Meyer,Ellen, AU - Weitz,Keith A, AU - Muth,Mary K, Y1 - 2019/12/30/ PY - 2019/10/28/received PY - 2019/12/19/revised PY - 2019/12/19/accepted PY - 2020/2/14/entrez PY - 2020/2/14/pubmed PY - 2020/2/14/medline KW - Environmentally extended input-output model (EEIO) KW - Food loss and waste (FLW) KW - Food supply chain (FSC) SP - 136255 EP - 136255 JF - The Science of the total environment JO - Sci. Total Environ. VL - 712 N2 - Reducing food loss and waste (FLW) is widely recognized as an important lever for lowering the environmental impacts of food systems. The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda includes a goal to reduce FLW by 50% by 2030. Given differences in resource inputs along the food supply chain (FSC), the environmental benefits of FLW reduction will vary by stage of the FSC. Here, we identify the points along the supply chain where a 50% FLW reduction could yield the largest potential environmental benefits, assuming that decreases in consumption propagate back up the supply chain to reduce production. We use an environmentally extended input-output (EEIO) model combined with data on rates of FLW to calculate the scale of the total environmental impacts of the U.S. food system resulting from lost or wasted food. We evaluate the maximum potential environmental benefit resulting from 50% FLW reduction at all possible combinations of six supply chain stages (agricultural production, food processing, distribution/retail, restaurant foodservice, institutional foodservice, and households). We find that FLW reduction efforts should target the foodservice (restaurant) sector, food processing sector, and household consumption. Halving FLW in the foodservice sector has the highest potential to reduce greenhouse gas output and energy use. Halving FLW in the food processing sector could reduce the most land use and eutrophication potential, and reducing household consumption waste could avert the most water consumption. In contrast, FLW reduction at the retail, institutional foodservice, and farm level averts less environmental impact. Our findings may help determine optimal investment in FLW reduction strategies. SN - 1879-1026 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/32050400/Assessing_the_environmental_impacts_of_halving_food_loss_and_waste_along_the_food_supply_chain_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0048-9697(19)36251-5 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -
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