Food Waste & Climate Impact - A Waste Composition Analysis on Elementary Schools in Uppsala

Last changed: 23 May 2023
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Runa Halvarsson, Biology and Environmental Science - Bachelor's programme


Food waste is a global problem that results in sociological, economical, and ecological losses. To combat food waste, a lot of actions are being taken. The UNs Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 aspires to halve global per capita food waste by 2030. In order to reach this goal, we all must do our part. Studying food waste in schools is a good way to assess problem areas and to test new innovations. In this study, I have collected and separated plate waste from two elementary schools in Uppsala for eight days over a two-week period. The results showed that pasta and potatoes are wasted in the largest quantities, followed by vegetarian options and vegetables. While assessing climate impact by using the Carbon Footprint, I found that beef, which waste was very small, had the biggest influence. Potatoes however, which were wasted in large quantities, had a very low impact in comparison. To rectify this problem, countermeasures have to be tested in the schools. Since uneaten food from school meals means that the nutritional value that children are meant to receive goes to waste, one cannot simply solve the food waste problem by producing less food. Further research should focus on how to encourage students to eat a balanced and sustainable diet.


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