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Food Waste in Healthcare, Business and Hospitality Catering: Composition, Environmental Impacts and Reduction Potential on Company and National Levels

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Institute for Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences, Competence Cluster for Nutrition and Cardiovascular Health (nutriCARD), Martin Luther University Halle‐Wittenberg, 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany
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Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Economics (INL) e.V., 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany
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United Against Waste e.V., 68723 Plankstadt, Germany
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Leanpath, Beaverton, OR 97008, USA
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Institute of Sustainable Nutrition (iSuN), University of Applied Sciences, 48149 Münster, Germany
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World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), 10117 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3288; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063288
Received: 22 February 2021 / Revised: 8 March 2021 / Accepted: 10 March 2021 / Published: 16 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Food)
Background: As the reduction of food wastage remains one of our most critical challenges, we quantified the environmental impacts of food losses in the food-service sector in Germany, with a particular focus on the subsectors of business, healthcare and hospitality. Methods: Using the food-waste data of 7 catering companies, 1545 measurement days and 489,185 served meals during two 4–6 week monitoring periods, a life-cycle assessment (LCA) according to ISO standard 14040/44 was conducted. Within the LCA, the carbon, water (blue) and land footprints, and the ecological scarcity in terms of eco-points, were calculated. Results: We show that the waste generated in the food-service sector in Germany is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions of 4.9 million tons CO2-equivalents (CO2e), a water use of 103,057 m3 and a land demand of 322,838 ha, equating to a total of 278 billion eco-points per year. Subsector-specifically, in hospitality catering: 1 kg of food waste accounts for 3.4 kg CO2e, 61.1 L water and 2.6 m2 land (208 eco-points); in healthcare: 2.9 kg CO2e, 48.4 L and 1.9 m2 land (150 eco-points); and in business: 2.3 kg CO2e, 72 L water and 1.0–1.4 m2 land (109–141 eco-points). Meal-specifically, the environmental footprints vary between 1.5 and 8.0 kg CO2e, 23.2–226.1 L water and 0.3–7.1 m2 per kg food waste. Conclusions: If robust food waste management schemes are implemented in the near future and take the waste-reduction potential in the food-service sector into account, Target 12.3 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals—which calls for halving food waste by 2030—is within reach. View Full-Text
Keywords: food losses; wastage; life-cycle assessment; LCA; carbon footprint; water footprint; land footprint; ecological scarcity, food-service food losses; wastage; life-cycle assessment; LCA; carbon footprint; water footprint; land footprint; ecological scarcity, food-service
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MDPI and ACS Style

Meier, T.; von Borstel, T.; Welte, B.; Hogan, B.; Finn, S.M.; Bonaventura, M.; Friedrich, S.; Weber, K.; Dräger de Teran, T. Food Waste in Healthcare, Business and Hospitality Catering: Composition, Environmental Impacts and Reduction Potential on Company and National Levels. Sustainability 2021, 13, 3288. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063288

AMA Style

Meier T, von Borstel T, Welte B, Hogan B, Finn SM, Bonaventura M, Friedrich S, Weber K, Dräger de Teran T. Food Waste in Healthcare, Business and Hospitality Catering: Composition, Environmental Impacts and Reduction Potential on Company and National Levels. Sustainability. 2021; 13(6):3288. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063288

Chicago/Turabian Style

Meier, Toni, Torsten von Borstel, Birgit Welte, Brennan Hogan, Steven M. Finn, Mike Bonaventura, Silke Friedrich, Kerstin Weber, and Tanja Dräger de Teran. 2021. "Food Waste in Healthcare, Business and Hospitality Catering: Composition, Environmental Impacts and Reduction Potential on Company and National Levels" Sustainability 13, no. 6: 3288. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063288

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