U.S. consumers are the largest contributors to food waste generation (FWG), but few models have explained how households waste food. This study examines how discrete-event simulation (DES) can identify areas for reducing FWG through packaging and consumer milk consumption behavioral changes. Household model parameters included: amount and type of consumption, type and number of containers bought, buying behavior, and shelf life of milk. Simulations comparing the purchase of quart, half gallon, and gallon milk containers were run for 10,000 days to identify which package type reduced waste for 50 1, 2 and 4-person households. Based on consumption averages from the U.S. National Dairy Council, results suggest that if 1 and 4-person households change their purchasing behavior from 1 half-gallon to 1 quart and 2 gallons to 3 half-gallons, they can reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from milk consumption by 33% and 12%, respectively, without reducing their total milk consumption. Purchasing enough smaller containers to be equivalent to a larger size decreased spoilage, but not enough to reduce a consumer’s total milk consumption GHG emissions. Results showed that packaging accounts for 5% of the total milk consumption GHG emissions; most of a consumer’s impact comes from milk spoilage and consumption.
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