Unconsumed food impacts on the environment via the wasteful use of resources in its production and via its disposal. Householders would ideally only generate food waste that is not considered edible (unavoidable food waste) and the disposal of edible food (avoidable food waste) would be prevented, mitigating both the environmental impacts of food waste and reducing consumers’ wasted expenditure on uneaten food. This study aimed to elucidate if and how householders’ food waste behaviour might be changed via interventions in the form of a leaflet highlighting the impacts of avoidable food waste. The composition of avoidable food waste set out for kerbside collection was assessed in relation to interventions intended to reduce avoidable food waste and in relation to households’ economic status. Two parallel interventions were tested, setting out to householders the impacts of avoidable food waste on (1) the environment, and (2) personal finances. Avoidable food waste set out by affluent and low income households, considered in terms of total weight, life-cycle stage and product group, did not change significantly after delivery of either leaflet. Neither of the interventions tested had a discernible impact on the quantity and composition of avoidable food waste in these terms. We propose that initiatives to reduce food waste may be more successful if focused on positive actions to improve householders’ efficiency in their food use, directed by insight provided by analysis of avoidable food waste within product groups and in relation to life-cycle stage.
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