Evaluating Food Packaging Waste in Schools: A Systematic Literature Review
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Search Strategy and Study Selection
2.2. Data Extraction
3.1. Settings, Participants, Designs, and Interventions
|Author(s)||Year||Method(s)||Objective and Subjective Measures||Waste Bin Types||School Type||Environment Assessed||Waste Audit Data Collection Period||Publication Type|
|Arazo RA ||2015||waste audit (sorted + weighed)||food packaging waste categorized: paper and paper products, hard plastics, soft plastics, glasses, metals, woods, food leftovers, yard, textile, inorganic, hazardous, special wastes||trash||college/university||whole school||4-week sampling period||peer-reviewed|
|Castrejon A ||2008||waste audit (sorted + weighed)||food packaging waste categorized: mixed paper, food scrap and yard waste, cans/bottles, trash||trash, recycling (mixed paper), recycling (cans/bottles), compost (food scraps and yard waste)||elementary school||whole school||one 10-week waste audit||master’s thesis|
|Felder MAJ ||2001||waste audit (sorted + weighed)||food packaging waste categorized: animal bedding, animal waste, cloth, food, wood, glass, paper, plastic (#1, 2, 5), plastic (#3, 4, 6, 7), metal (aluminum), metal (ferrous), miscellaneous||trash, recycling, compost (food scraps)||college/university||whole school||three-plus 1-day waste audits per activity area||peer-reviewed|
|Gallardo A ||2016||waste audit (sorted + weighed)||food packaging waste categorized: plastics (PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, and PS), ferrous metals, nonferrous metals, clean and dirty paper, clean and dirty cardboard, Tetra Brick cartons, glass, organic matter, sanitary cellulose, rubber and leather, toxic and hazardous waste, inert waste||trash||college/university||whole school||two 1-day waste audits||peer-reviewed|
|Hahn NI ||1997||waste audit (sorted + weighed)||food packaging waste categorized: carton, pouch, cardboard, metal cans, compost||trash||K-12||cafeteria||n/a||peer-reviewed|
|James L ||2015||waste audit (sorted + weighed)||food packaging waste categorized: recycling, trash, compost||trash, recycling, compost (food scraps)||elementary school||whole school||three 1-day waste audits||peer-reviewed|
|Ramamoorthy R ||2019||waste audit (sorted + weighed)||food packaging waste categorized: food, paper, silt/soil/mud, plastic, wood/glass/metal/textile, clinical/sanitary, e-waste, other||student waste, campus waste||K-12||whole school||one 5-day waste audit||peer-reviewed|
|Ravenelle J ||2018||waste audit (sorted + weighed)||food packaging waste categorized: trash, recycling, food, liquid||trash, recycling, compost (food scraps and liquid waste)||elementary school||cafeteria||three 1-day waste audits||peer-reviewed|
|Schumpert K ||2012||waste audit (sorted + weighed)||food packaging waste categorized: comingled containers, paper, cardboard, food waste, non-recyclable paper||trash, recycling, compost (food scraps)||K-12||whole school||n/a||report|
|Schupp CL ||2018||waste audit (sorted + weighed)||food packaging waste categorized: reusable food items, compost, recycling, trash||trash, recycling, compost (food scraps)||K-12||cafeteria||one 18-day waste audit||peer-reviewed|
|Hollingsworth M ||1995||waste audit (sorted + weighed + volume)||food packaging waste categorized: food, oil/suet, cardboard, paper, metal, plastic, glass, milk component, plate waste, miscellaneous||trash, recycling||K-8||cafeteria||two 10-day waste audits||peer-reviewed|
|Baca J ||2011||questionnaire||food packaging waste categorized: recycling, trash, compost||trash, recycling, compost||K-12||cafeteria||n/a||master’s thesis|
|Chan TC ||2013||questionnaire||level of MSW practices||n/a||K-12||whole school||n/a||report|
|Fleckenstein RM ||2016||questionnaire||food packaging waste categorized: paper, plastic, Styrofoam, metal||trash, recycling, compost||K-12||whole school||1 day||doctoral dissertation|
|Iojă CI ||2012||questionnaire||level of food packaging knowledge||n/a||K-12||whole school||n/a||peer-reviewed|
|Vitamog AT ||2012||questionnaire||level of MSW practices||n/a||middle school||cafeteria||n/a||peer-reviewed|
|Wie S ||2003||multiple methods—modeling, case studies, interviews||economics of labor, fees, and services||n/a||K-12||cafeteria||n/a||peer-reviewed|
|Smyth DP ||2010||multiple methods—interviews, waste audit (sorted + weighed)||food packaging waste categorized: paper and paperboard, disposable hot beverage cups, beverage containers, plastics, expanded polystyrene, glass, ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, organic material, hazardous by-products, electronic waste, non-recyclable other;|
level of MSW practices
|trash, recycling, compost (food scraps)||college/university||whole school||two 5-day waste audits||peer-reviewed|
|Palmer S ||2021||multiple methods—interviews, observations||food packaging waste categorized: packaging waste, recycling, food waste;|
level of MSW practices
|Prescott MP ||2019||multiple methods—food systems awareness poster analysis, questionnaire before and after intervention||level of food packaging knowledge||n/a||middle school||cafeteria||n/a||peer-reviewed|
|Cunningham-Scott CB ||2005||multiple methods—curbside recycling reports, control comparison and experiment schools identified, intervention, waste audits (sorted + weighed + got volume) before and after intervention, questionnaire, waste hauler reports||food packaging waste categorized: paper, food waste, cardboard, comingled recyclables, non-recyclable trash;|
participation rates; level of food packaging knowledge
|recycling (mixed paper), recycling (cans/bottles)||elementary school||whole school||5-day waste audit||master’s thesis|
|Ward MN ||2014||multiple methods—case study (tool formation), test case (informal interviews, intervention, waste audit (sorted + weighed) before and after intervention)||food packaging waste categorized: trash, paper, aluminum, plastics; level of MSW practices||trash, recycling (mixed paper), recycling (cans/bottles)||elementary school||whole school||two 5-day waste audits||peer-reviewed|
|Cagnassola L ||2016||modeling||food packaging waste categorized: reusable trays, reusable utensils, plastic utensils, foam trays, compostable utensils, compostable trays||n/a||high school||cafeteria||n/a||master’s thesis|
|Prestin A ||2010||focus groups||level of knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors towards recycling||n/a||high school||whole school||n/a||peer-reviewed|
|objective—waste audit||objective measurement of type and amount of waste generated||mass and/or volume of waste generated by waste type(s)||landfill, recycling, compost, and/or other more granular categories||Arazo RA |
Castrejon A 
Cunningham-Scott CB 
Felder MAJ 
Gallardo A 
Hahn NI 
Hollingsworth M 
|James L |
Ramamoorthy R 
Ravenelle J 
Schumpert K 
Schupp CL 
Smyth DP 
Ward MN 
|objective—secondary data||external, pre-compiled data||holistic perspective on direct and indirect influences of waste generation and disposal||waste hauler reports;|
curbside recycling participation;
|Cunningham-Scott CB |
Prescott MP 
Ward MN 
Wie S 
|objective—model||compile data to project conditions in the near- or far-term||mass and/or volume of waste generated|
cost(s) of disposable food packaging, operations, and/or food packaging waste
|landfill, recycling, compost, and/or other more granular categories;monetary costs||Cagnassola L |
Cunningham-Scott CB 
Wie S 
|subjective—observations||observe (real-time or through photographs) meal prep and serving operations as well as disposal practices for their associated food packaging waste types and amounts||when different types of food packaging waste are generated and how they are disposed of;capture and demonstrate practices and interventions||kitchen/prep,|
no-blind, blind, or double-blind analysis
|Palmer S |
Prescott MP 
|subjective—questionnaires, interviews, or focus group||study participants’ perceptions of barriers to/facilitators of reducing waste; |
collected individually or in a group setting
|data from many people on specific topics|
(e.g., barriers and facilitators to waste reduction; knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes of waste reduction practices)
|Baca J |
Chan TC 
Cunningham-Scott CB 
Fleckenstein RM 
Iojă CI 
Palmer S 
Prescott MP 
Prestin A 
Smyth DP 
Vitamog AT 
Ward MN 
Wie S 
3.2.1. Waste Audits (Objective Data)
3.2.2. Secondary Data (Objective Data)
3.2.3. Modeling (Objective Data)
3.2.4. Subjective Data
4.1. Settings and Participants
4.2. Methodologies and Their Areas for Improvement
4.3. New Instrument Creation and Refinement
Institutional Review Board Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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Heiges, J.; Lee, D.L.; Vollmer, L.; Wobbekind, K.; Thompson, H.R.; Gosliner, W.; Madsen, K.A.; O’Neill, K.; Ritchie, L.D. Evaluating Food Packaging Waste in Schools: A Systematic Literature Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 5607. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095607
Heiges J, Lee DL, Vollmer L, Wobbekind K, Thompson HR, Gosliner W, Madsen KA, O’Neill K, Ritchie LD. Evaluating Food Packaging Waste in Schools: A Systematic Literature Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(9):5607. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095607Chicago/Turabian Style
Heiges, Jessica, Danielle L. Lee, Laura Vollmer, Kate Wobbekind, Hannah R. Thompson, Wendi Gosliner, Kristine A. Madsen, Kate O’Neill, and Lorrene D. Ritchie. 2022. "Evaluating Food Packaging Waste in Schools: A Systematic Literature Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 9: 5607. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095607