The quantity and composition of household food waste during the COVID-19 pandemic: A direct measurement study in Canada
Socio-Economic Planning Sciences
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The COVID-19 pandemic may have amplified the environmental, social, and economic implications of household food waste. A better understanding of household food wasting during the pandemic is needed to improve the management of waste and develop best practices for municipal waste management programs under crisis circumstances. A waste composition study was undertaken with 100 single-family households across the city of London, Ontario, Canada to determine the quantity and composition of household food waste disposed in June 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study examines how household demographic, socioeconomic, and neighbourhood food environment characteristics influence household food wasting. On average, each household sent 2.81 kg of food waste to landfill per week, of which 52% was classified as avoidable food waste and 48% as unavoidable food waste. The quantity and composition of household food waste was found to be strongly influenced by the number of people and children in a household, and somewhat influenced by socioeconomic factors and neighbourhood food environment characteristics, including the availability, density, and proximity of retail food outlets.