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Higher education and food waste: assessing current trends

Leal Filho, W and Lange Salvia, A and Davis, B and Will, M and Moggi, S (2021) Higher education and food waste: assessing current trends. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology. ISSN 1350-4509

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Abstract

© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Food waste is a considerable sustainability challenge, and many universities around the world are engaged in food waste prevention. University canteens offer opportunities for prevention of food waste by steering the amounts of food served in meals at central locations. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of international studies which look into this matter at a greater depth. This paper discusses matters related to university policies and strategies, best practices as well as deficiencies that are seen in preventing food waste. An international study was conducted, including a sample of 52 higher education institutions, in order to provide pieces of evidence of current trends. The study reveals that even though food waste is as an essential issue in many Higher Education Institutions, prevention efforts are not so widely spread as they should be. The majority of universities represented in the sample implemented particular initiatives for food waste reduction, focusing on collection for disposal and composting as well as for external donation. Other examples for implemented efforts include training staff to serve adequate portions, use of trayless dining, and provision of regular information for staff and students. However, 60% of the sample does not have to follow a particular strategy or measure the amount of food waste produced. About 15% of the universities in the sample reported no engagement.

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