Next Article in Journal
Energy Management of an Off-Grid Hybrid Power Plant with Multiple Energy Storage Systems
Previous Article in Journal
Land Suitability Analysis for Solar Farms Exploitation Using GIS and Fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Process (FAHP)—A Case Study of Iran
Previous Article in Special Issue
Performance Analysis of a Reciprocating Piston Expander and a Plate Type Exhaust Gas Recirculation Boiler in a Water-Based Rankine Cycle for Heat Recovery from a Heavy Duty Diesel Engine
Article Menu
Issue 8 (August) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Energies 2016, 9(8), 660;

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
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)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2110 KB, uploaded 19 August 2016]   |  


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

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Energies EISSN 1996-1073 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top