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Open AccessArticle

The Hidden Burden of Food Waste: The Double Energy Waste in Italy

Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Viale Fanin 50, 40124 Bologna, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ling Kong
Energies 2016, 9(8), 660;
Received: 22 March 2016 / Revised: 26 July 2016 / Accepted: 29 July 2016 / Published: 19 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Waste Energy Harvesting)
The energy intensity of modern food systems represents a major issue in a scenario of decreasing oil resources and increasing population. Beside the use of renewable energy, an increased efficiency in food systems could contribute to reduce fossil fuels dependence. In this sense, food losses and waste (FLW) have crucial consequences on the energy balance. Based on the concept of “embodied energy”, food wastage can be framed as a double waste of energy, both in terms of non-consumed food energy and the inputs used for production. Secondary data regarding direct and indirect energy inputs and FLW have been collected for the Italian food chain to estimate the embodied energy of food waste. Since in 2011 the production and distribution of food implied the use of 822 PJ and 18 Mt of food was discarded, 67 PJ of food energy and 100 PJ of embodied energy were wasted. These figures are equivalent to 12.2% of the total nutritional energy output and to 1.3% of the final energy use in Italy, respectively. The concept of double energy waste sheds new light on the intertwined relationship between energy and food security, suggesting that appropriate food waste reduction policies could result in a higher food production level and relevant energy savings. View Full-Text
Keywords: food waste; energy waste; sustainable food systems; Italy food waste; energy waste; sustainable food systems; Italy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vittuari, M.; De Menna, F.; Pagani, M. The Hidden Burden of Food Waste: The Double Energy Waste in Italy. Energies 2016, 9, 660.

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