From theory to practice: food waste reduction strategies in literature and a case study of municipalities in Skåne, Sweden
Sammanfattning: Food waste is recognized as a major global issue that currently lacks sufficient political and legislative action in order to understand or address it adequately. Skåne County, Sweden’s southernmost county, has highly ambitious climate action goals, and reducing municipal food waste could help them meet these goals. I wanted to better understand what research already exists, where research gaps lie, and how food waste is being reduced in a practical setting. To accomplish this, I performed a literature review of strategies to reduce food wastage on a municipal level, adapted a framework from my research, and conducted interviews with district representatives to gain the understanding of the practical implementation. From my literature review, I identified a seven-stage framework of the food system: Planning, Purchasing, Storage, Preparation, Consumption, and Disposal, which I then used to classify every strategy which the literature mentioned. I then interviewed all of the municipalities in Skåne which had answered a survey from the County Administrative Board, reporting that they were working at the “highest level” as a municipality to reduce food waste, in order to understand what they considered to be this ‘highest level’ of food waste reduction. All of the Skånsk municipalities which I interviewed have implemented waste reduction strategies to some extent in their school systems, performing a minimum of 19 out of 41 strategic criteria from my framework (46.3%) and a median of 30.5 (74.4%) and they utilize strategies from a minimum of five out of the seven stages in my framework, an average of over six. This is a positive confirmation of my literature review and framework being practically implemented, bridging the gap from academia and literature to tangible results. In order to continue reducing food waste in Skåne, the next steps should be to adapt specific strategies for food waste reduction, continue working to share ideas and strategies between the different municipalities, and expand to further sectors within the municipality, such as elderly care, and implement overall policy plans.
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