Food waste costs not appetizing to many | 9/29/2017 | Staff
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Wasting food has become a way of life for many Londoners who, according to one Western-led study, are tossing an average of $600 into the trash every year.

While the data comes from surveying 1,300 households in just one city, the trend is almost certainly echoed in communities across Canada, explained Paul van der Werf, an environmental consultant and project advisor with Western's Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (HEAL Lab).

Van - Der - Werf - Author - Paper

Van der Werf served as lead author of the paper "Food for naught: Using the theory of planned behaviour to better understand household food wasting behaviour," newly published in Canadian Geographer.

"London is a mid-sized city with a an 'average' population. If we want to look at Hamilton, Saskatoon, Vancouver, maybe some of their answers would be different. But I don't think they would be that different; this is quite replicable," he said, noting a Swiss study with similar methodology had similar findings.

Survey - London - Households - Residents - Food

The survey of London households showed residents reported throwing out food – what's called 'avoidable food waste' – on average 4.77 times per week for a total of 5.89 food portions in the previous week. Fruit and vegetables were tossed most often, and usually because respondents said they had bought more than they needed and it had spoiled.

Just 11 per cent of respondents said they hadn't thrown out any food in the previous week.

Van - Der - Werf - Environment - Responsibility

Van der Werf also examined what might push them to waste less. While environment and social responsibility were on the list, respondents believed saving money would be a primary driver to changing their behaviour.

"My hypothesis was that people are motivated by money – as crass as that might seem and as much as we like to think people are primarily motivated by environmental impact and the social good."

People - Impact

People don't feel they have control over environmental impact and the social...
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