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There Are Serious Concerns Over Food Waste Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2840 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Food waste is a serious environmental, social and economic concern not only to United Kingdom but also to the whole world. Even though Food waste was recognized as a considerable problem, it was not identified as a serious concern to the environment till recently. Among environmentally significant activities, the production, trade, and consumption of food products have been identified as crucial contributors to numerous environmental problems One of the greatest threats of the century is Global Warming and Climate change. The need of the hour is to effectively tackle the climate change issue and GHG emission. According to Waste and resources action program (WRAP), about 20% of climate change emissions are related to the production, processing, transportation and storage of food. Agriculture contributes significantly to GHG emissions

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The domestic household in uk produces around 8,300,000 tons of food waste and is the single largest producer of food waste. Local authorities spend 1 billion pound a year disposing food waste. The foods we throw out to the landfill gets broken down to carbon dioxide and methane gas (green house gases) and are the prime reasons for global warming. If UK has to meet the international targets on climate change and GHG emissions, it is important to reduce the amount of food waste going to the landfill. Spaces for land filling of wastes are rapidly diminishing, alongside European Union legislation that demands large amounts of waste be diverted from landfill over the next 15 years*

Food waste puts a large burden on the finances of each household and local councils in the UK; Local authorities spend 1 billion pound a year disposing food waste. Wasted food is estimated to cost each British household £250-£400 per year, accumulating to £15,000-£24,000 over a lifetime..

Objectives and Methadology

“Love Food Hate Waste” is a social campaign, launched by WRAP, in 2007,with the aim of reducing the amount of food waste in UK. The campaign is focused on raising consumer awareness about the various problems caused by food waste. WRAP calculated that preventing good food going to waste could reduce the annual emission of carbon dioxide by 18 million tones, the same effect as taking one in 5 cars off the road.

Love Food Hate Waste campaign is supported by the government and is backed by celebrity chefs. Love food Hate waste also has a website which provides practical advice and tips on how to use most of the food they buy. The objective of the campaign is to raise awareness of easy, practical, everyday ways that households can reduce food waste. Everyone including local authorities, community groups, retailers, food manufactures and consumers are part of this campaign. For example, “Resource Futures recruited and managed two embedded Outreach Workers to support the North London Waste Authority’s, WRAP funded, Love Food Hate Waste campaign. During the seven month period, the Outreach Workers organized and delivered over sixty road shows in supermarkets, businesses, libraries and at community groups, across NLWA’s seven constituent boroughs, to engage more than 3,500 people with the campaign”.

It focuses on consumer’s strong desire to reduce wastefulness by sending positive messages about the rewards and benefits that can be achieved through specific behavioral change. The campaign benefits the consumer and the environment by reducing budgets and minimizing land fill and carbon emissions. Some of the methods which can be used to reduce waste in an house hold are:

Reduce your proportion size: Love Food Hate Waste website has a tool to help you calculate appropriate portion sizes. The portion planner removes the guesswork by suggesting how much to cook, depending on who’s coming for dinner, and ways to measure it

Plan ahead: By planning the meal for a week and by shopping accordingly can save you a lot of money and prevents good food going to the waste bin.

Tips on storage: Gives you easy tips on how to store things and encourage you to make effective use of fridge and freezers if necessary.

Special Recipes: which makes use of use of all the odds and ends that invariably get leftover from previous meals or forgotten in the fruit bowl or the back of the fridge

If nothing above works, recycling can be done. Composting is one good option.

Only Those waste which nothing can be done is dumped in to landfill

The Love food Hate waste Organize Door stepping campaigns providing information packs and

Advice, targeted at reducing household waste. They also organize road shows, surveys and do advertising through radio and printed Medias. It owns a website love food hate waste.com where you can find many useful tips to reduce food waste.

Analysis of the Sustainable Consumption approach

One of the main cause for environmental degradation is the over consumption by the developed countries and a switch towards sustainable consumption pattern is very essential. The definition proposed by the 1994 Oslo Symposium on Sustainable Consumption defines it as “the use of services and related products which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardise the needs of future generations.” The two approaches towards sustainable consumption are the Main Stream approach and an alternative New Economics approach.

The strategy of UK government in 2003 was continuous economic growth and social progress that respects the limits of earths eco systems to have a better quality of life. The concept of mainstream approach is of a strong stable and sustainable economy and include initiatives like  initiatives for product labeling, consumer education and environmental taxation. mainstream economics is deeply embedded in modernity’s vision of progress and growth. The critics of this approach claims that this method is quite ineffective and doesn’t address the fundamental problem of consumption. Based on several factors on the environment and society, the critics of main stream model proposed a new model collectively known as New Economics. They argue that economics cannot be separated from its understructures in environmental and social contexts.

The Love food hate waste is one such campaign which follows the alternative approach of sustainable consumption. The diagram below shows how the campaigns approach towards sustainable consumption.


more productive use of

materials and energy

Green growth




Sustainable Consumption



reduced throughput of

products and services


The campaign aims to reduce the amount of waste by consuming less by reducing your portion size and shopping less. In other words sufficiency is achieved by reduced consumption of products. The approach also defines green economics which means to increase the efficiency by more productive use of materials and energy. The model defines efficiency and sufficiency as the key towards sustainable consumption. The greater focus on sufficiency alone may lead to economic instability on a wider focus. Increased product life spans, may enable such problems to be overcome by providing for both efficiency and sufficiency.

The efficiency can be increased by using the left overs and reusing and recycling.

Theories Linked to LFHW Campaign.

LFHW is basically a social marketing campaign aiming for a behavioral change by consuming more sensibly and thereby producing less waste. To understand the theories it is important to understand the driving forces to the same. Some of the forces influenced are:

Knowledge, information, fashions & beliefs (education, media, marketing)

Price / affordabilit

Tastes and Habits

Demographic changes: ageing population, single person society, wealth

Culture, social & family expectations, norms, aspirations


Time and Season

The campaign does its focus on the utilitarian theory and more importantly on social and psychological theories. The campaign targets the people who behave unsustainable because they lack information and help them to overcome the problems by rendering information to the needy.

The utilitarian approach says that consumers seek to spend money on goods which gives greatest satisfaction or in other words consumers behave as utility maximizers. The LFHW campaign helps and encourage in cognitive thinking before you shop. It spread the importance of prior planning before shopping. By planning your meals for the whole week, you know what to buy and from where to buy. In the present scenario, people get tempted and buy things with offers like buy 1 get 1 free, even though they really don’t need that. It’s found that one in every 3 shopping bags goes directly to the waste bin. The campaign educates people how the value of food can be increased if the left over can be used to make new dishes.

“Human behavior is formed and routinized by social structure” Apart from the conventionally acknowledged constraints like price and information, campaign also negotiates social, psychological and structural constraints. LFHW organizes public campaigns with celebrity chefs and attracts the whole society for a behavioral change. As a social marketing campaign, the main themes of the campaign are 4E’s (Engage, Encourage, Enable and Exemplify).

Engaging consumers and households to rethink their behavior is one of the main ways in which waste prevention can be progressed.

Enabling households to take action or overcome barriers, through the provision of services like reduce reuse and recycling.

Policy measures -Encouraging households to rethink their behavior so as to reduce their waste generation. The most frequently applied suite or ‘package’ of waste prevention policy measures

Appears to include most or all of the following activities.

Collaboration between public, private and third sectors.

Producer and responsibility.

Variable rate charging (pay as you throw) systems (generally applied to householders’ residual waste).

Public sector funding for pilot projects.

Exemplified by means of monitoring and evaluation; Measuring and evaluation of waste prevention is challenging. The data collected should be true and of high quality. Some of the methods adopted are


Surveys done before and after the campaign, focusing on attitudes

and behaviours and/or on participation rates

Tracking the amount of waste from collection data and/or compositional



Strength and weakness of Love food hate waste campaign

Love food hate waste campaign claims that it has already prevented 1,37000 tonnes of waste goin to waste bin and  have helped close on two million households reduce their food waste, amounting to savings of almost £300 million.

A persons willingness to change along with action and appropriate policies from the local authorities is essential to bring a social change. The campaign is funded and supported by the governmentand almost every county council has given its support to the campaign. Retailers and food manufacturers also support to reduce food waste and they are the official sponsors of the campaign.

Unlike Other campaigns, consumer is also economically benefited and hence more people are willing take part in the campaign. It also helps in reducing the so called Value Action Gap.

The campaign is both focused at individual and social aspects and hence is more effective. a large body of studies asserts that personal factors are necessary and essential to foster behavioral changes, even though the correspondence between attitudinal variables and behavior is often moderate {reference*(2}

The website lovefoodhatewaste.com gives you a lot of information and makes it easily accessible at any point of time. A lot of people gives their experience and valuable opinion which encourage other people to minimize waste.

Some of the weaknesses of the campaign are:

The campaign is too focused on using left overs and freezing, whereas shopping storage and portion control are effective strategies.

The campaign deals with utilitarian concept and socio-psychological theories where as doesn’t consider Infrastructure of provision approach.

The campaign doesn’t focus on the production part of food. food that goes to waste during Production and distribution accounts for 5 percentage of the GHG emissions.

Globally 15-50% of food produced is wasted post harvest and no action is taken prevent those waste.

The campaign is more concentrated on the food after consumption and doesn’t look in to the broader aspects of food. Food has different utility and meanings when it comes to Entertainment, pleasure satisfaction, love status, comfort, time pass, bribery, religious significance, social glue, power, habbit, need, guilt, culture and so on. The amount of waste generated differs for each case and no effort has been taken to realy understand this complex system.

Oxfordshire council-tax payers have saved over £50,000 in waste disposal costs by throwing away less food since Oxfordshire Waste Partnership (OWP) launched its Love Food Hate Waste campaign last March

Love Food Hate waste Campaign is still in its early stage and has long way to go. The measurement of success of the campaign can be found by looking the amount of waste reduced as a result of this campaign. In the very first year, the campaign is successful in reducing 1,37000 tones of household waste. The initial statistics of the campaign sounds too intresting and shows how successful it has been. The campaign is successful in attaining attention of the large public. Even though the results are impressive, when compared to the true scale of the problem, it is just a mere drop in the ocean. To address the big issue like climate change we need to do a lot more to reduce the amount of waste produced.

Some of the limitations are

Lack of interest of certain individuals can be setback to the campaign. Some people consider that the protection of environment is government’s job and are not concerned about the same. Some people think that their contribution is just marginal and hence don’t do anything.

Reduction of waste is moreover a private thing and since its not public there is no social pressure to do it.

The lack of strong policies is certainly a limitation to the campaign

Measuring and monitoring is a tough task to perform. The reliability on survey is questioned.


The sustainable consumption doesn’t always means consuming less but It certainly should in the case of developed countries and in underdeveloped countries sustainable consumption means consuming more. “Thus the aim of sustainable consumption is a high quality of life for every one- brought about by everyone consuming in ways that reduce the impacts of production and consumption”. (UNESCO)

Some of the challenges in achieving sustainable consumption are:


The amount of waste produced by the supermarkets should be controlled and policy should be made to publish the waste generated by the supermarkets.

The Whole concept of supermarket should change. The people should make some list for shopping and hand it over to the shopkeeper/salesman so that he will hand over the things you need. By doing so you wont be tempted by the offers like buy one get one free.

The online shopping should be encouraged by avoiding tax.

Refrigerant leakage accounts for 30 percentage of supermarkets direct GGHG emissions.( Environment investigation agency 2010). There should be some measure to control this pollution.

Government should make strong policies and should introduce certain limits to the amount of waste that can be produced by each house. The threshold can be based on the total number of people living in the house. The waste above threshold limit should be fined.

… http://apps.oxfordshire.gov.uk


Promoting sustainable consumption: Determinants of green purchases by Swiss consumers

Carmen Tanner1,*, 

Sybille Wölfing Kast2

Article first published online: 12 SEP 2003

DOI: 10.1002/mar.10101


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