Money motivates in reducing food waste, study finds | 4/12/2019 | Staff
Mireille (Posted by) Level 3
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One of the biggest deterrents to wasting food is getting people to think about what else those wasted dollars could be spent on, according to a Western-led report.

"In terms of changing personal behavior, having to open up your wallet every week and realizing you have to pull less money out for groceries is a key motivator," explained Paul van der Werf, an adjunct Geography professor and environmental consultant in Western's Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (HEAL Lab).

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The study, "Reduce Food Waste, Save Money": Testing a Novel Intervention to Reduce Household Food Waste, was recently published in the journal Environment & Behaviour.

For the study, researchers compared the waste habits of two groups of Londoners: 1. A control group who went about their normal habits; and 2. Another group who received a small kit and emails repeating the simple message, "Reduce Food Waste: Save Money."

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Researchers also provided households with fridge magnets, grocery-list pads, freezer labels and emails with the same message.

The result of the reminders was a 30 percent drop in avoidable food waste sent to the curb.

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Households receiving reminders, the study found, placed at the curb 1.2 kilograms less waste each week, including one kilogram less food waste per week, than the control group.

When asked about what motivated them—whether the environmental effect, the social impact or the cash they saved—respondents said the money motivation consistently fed their enthusiasm, van der Werf said.

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These results are worth expanding throughout London and replicating elsewhere in the country, van der Werf argued. It's also a timely reminder as Canada Waste Reduction Week, Oct. 21-27.

People have a tough time visualizing what 125 kilograms of...
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