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19 MAY 2023 (FRI) 11:05 – 11:25

Towards a sustainable food waste management in China: From international to city-level analysis

Ms LI Tonglu


Food waste has emerged as an important challenge to global food security as it refers not only to the waste of food, but also to the inefficient and wasteful use of water, land, and the other resources related to food production and distribution. In accordance with the, The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals urges global communities to reduce per capita food waste by half until 2030, but there are few signs to for successful completion.

China, the Asia's largest economy, wastes more than 200 billion RMB of food each year and is expected to have an increasing trend of food waste with its economic and population growth. China's food waste accounts for 14% of all waste, with household consumption accounting for the majority of China's food waste at 7% of the total. At present food waste in China is primarily generated by households and restaurants. Although catering waste is easier to monitor than household waste, and Chinese laws focus on restaurants. As a result, The Chinese government expects that reducing food waste at the household level is imperative for China’s future sustainable development.

However, the findings from the literature on China’s household food waste management vary by study areas, since most studies were conducted mostly in large cities as case studies. There are few studies to systematically review the China’s household food waste management at the national level by comparing other countries’ practices.

Therefore, this proposal will aim to conduct the following three studies that are independent yet tightly linked one another. (1) A systematic review of China's food waste regulations and policies since 1990 along with an investigation on the international practices of food waste management over the past decades will be conducted to understand historical and current challenges of food waste management in China. (2) An investigation on the differences in food waste patterns and trends among households by different provinces/urban areas will be performed using the China Health and Nutrition Survey. Finally (3) The characteristics of household food waste and waste reduction strategies in Ningbo will be analyzed through mixed methods as it is one of the leading Chinese cities of food waste management, but their performance has not thoroughly examined. By so doing, this proposed study intends to provide a scientifical for future policy making and implementation of food waste management in China.

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