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Integrating community perspectives into domestic food waste prevention and diversion policies
journal contributionposted on 2019-02-12, 00:00 authored by Addisalem Benyam, Susan KinnearSusan Kinnear, John RolfeJohn Rolfe
Food waste (FW) in Australia costs an estimated $8 to 10 billion per year, and is associated with detrimental environmental and socio-economic implications such as greenhouse gas emissions and loss of human and natural capital. Preventing domestic food waste (DFW) generation and/or redirecting these resources to recyclable outputs is an important policy issue, however effective policy must first begin with an understanding of behavioural drivers for DFW generation. To examine this issue, a case study was conducted in two local government areas in Australia. Using focus group discussions, consumers’ understanding of and opinions about DFW generation, diversion and prevention options were assessed. Four hypothetical DFW policy options were explored: these included diversion options of home/backyard composting, community composting, and a residential FW collection program; and a prevention option, which was education programs to avoid over purchasing and over consumption. Home/backyard composting and education were the first and second preferred options, respectively. The sub-sample of residents were already practicing helpful food waste reduction habits, such as home composting and frugality in food spending and consumption habits. The findings demonstrate that understanding residents’ views requires an exploration of the complex psychological, socio-economic, environmental, and regulatory factors that shape opinions and behaviours towards food utilisations. The research demonstrates the potential value in embedding community perspectives in policy instruments, with the aim of encouraging sustainable food consumption and utilisation behaviours in regional communities. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.