Food waste : a systemic approach for structural prevention and reduction

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Food waste : a systemic approach for structural prevention and reduction

Food waste has emerged recently as one of the major environmental and socio-economic issues that humanity faces. Analysis on the subject are at the early stage and the concordance on methodologies need to be developed. This report reviews international literature and analyzes the most relevant links between food wastage and other issues, such a land/soil, water, energy consumption, degradation of biological integrity, climate change, alteration of the nitrogen cycle, food safety and sovereignty, circular bioeconomy, in order to build a socio-ecological vision.

From the examination of existing conceptual frameworks, we come to a proposal of systemic definition which includes basic elements of waste (or wastage, to use a wide-ranging term) so far not considered. Determining the causes and structural constraints along the chains, in particular, revealing different amounts of wastage associated with different food system patterns.

The report then analyzes the available data at global, European and Italian level, highlighting the critical extent and effects of food wastage. The need to shift focus from recover and recycling to the indispensable structural prevention is identified as a means to reduce surplus formation and consequent wastage. Prevention proposals are widely dealt and aimed at a strategy that increases ecological and social resilience by structurally transforming food systems.

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