As much as one-third of the food intentionally grown for human consumption is never consumed and is therefore wasted, with significant environmental, social and economic ramifications. An increasing number of publications in this area currently consider different aspects of this critical issue, and generally focus on proactive approaches to reduce food waste, or reactive solutions for more efficient waste management. In this context, this paper takes a holistic approach with the aim of achieving a better understanding of the different types of food waste, and using this knowledge to support informed decisions for more sustainable management of food waste. With this aim, existing food waste categorizations are reviewed and their usefulness are analysed. A systematic methodology to identify types of food waste through a nine-stage categorization is used in conjunction with a version of the waste hierarchy applied to food products. For each type of food waste characterized, a set of waste management alternatives are suggested in order to minimize environmental impacts and maximize social and economic benefits. This decision-support process is demonstrated for two case studies from the UK food manufacturing sector. As a result, types of food waste which could be managed in a more sustainable manner are identified and recommendations are given. The applicability of the categorisation process for industrial food waste management is discussed.


  • Food waste is one of the most challenging issues humankind is currently facing worldwide

  • The structure of the research presented in this paper is as follows: firstly, the definition of food waste used throughout this paper is provided; secondly, previous categorizations of food waste are discussed; thirdly, a categorization process is described based on the most pertinent indicators to classify food wastes; fourthly, the different types of food waste identified are linked to their most appropriate waste management alternatives, building a Food Waste Management Decision Tree; and the categorization process is illustrated with two case studies from the UK food industry

  • The categorization is intended to be easy to apply, facilitating identification of the type of food waste generated, and its link with the most appropriate food waste management alternative. This methodology has been illustrated with case studies from two large UK food and drink manufacturers. Their food waste types have been identified and their existing waste management practices compared to the proposed alternatives

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A Methodology for Sustainable Management of Food Waste

Guillermo Garcia-Garcia1 • Elliot Woolley1 • Shahin Rahimifard1 • James Colwill1 • Rod White2 • Louise Needham3 Received: 9 June 2016 / Accepted: 29 September 2016 / Published online: 25 October 2016 Ó The Author(s) 2016. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com

Introduction to Case Studies
United Nations
13. The Council of the European Communities
16. Statutory Instruments
19. European Commission
37. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union
43. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union
44. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union
46. The Council of the European Union
52. The Secretary of State
60. The Secretary of State
66. European Commission
71. Statutory Instruments
75. European Commission

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