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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Tackling the issue of food waste in restaurants: Options for measurement method, reduction and behavioral change

  • Author(s): Sakaguchi, Leo
  • Pak, Nina
  • Potts, Matthew D
  • et al.

© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Reducing food waste has many positive environmental and socio-economic ramifications. Even though many programs exist to reduce the amount of food waste, the attitudes and the behaviors driving food waste as well as the strategies to reduce it remain poorly understood. In this paper, we investigate how restaurateurs in Berkeley, California, USA perceive food waste given current financial incentives and policies. We found that 65% of the restaurants are measuring amounts of food waste and more than three-quarters of them (84%) use compost bins to dispose inedible food waste. Our survey results also show that the most common method employed to dispose of food waste (72%) was giving edible leftovers to restaurant's employees. However, three-quarters of restaurants avoided food donation because of unfounded fear of the legal liability. Finally, 14% of surveyed restaurants dumped their food waste into landfill bins. We suggest that further studies explore ways to target specific attitudes and behavioral changes, but also to quantify the impact of these changes.

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