CO2 savings of selling food surplus in plastic trays compared to incineration and anaerobic digestion in Sweden. : With an application at KTH Royal Institute of Technology

University essay from KTH/Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik

Abstract: Food waste has become a global environmental concern in recent years with food waste prevention being the optimal solution. In Sweden, initiatives to reduce food waste, focus on re-using methods like selling or donating food. The purpose of this study is to analyze the environmental savings, in terms of CO2 eq. savings, of re-using food compared to incineration and anaerobic digestion in Sweden. The study aims to map out the processes of the food waste management system and investigate the parameters that effect the performance of each method using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The research is conducted by using a case study, “Save food at KTH” which is an initiative at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, to reduce food waste through a mobile application for sharing information on the available edible food waste around campus and options to purchase it through the app.   The results showed that re-using food waste has more CO2 savings compared to the other two energy recovery methods. Avoided emissions from food production when food waste is sold, were the most important factors that framed this result. However, the types of foods are also critical on the choice of food waste management method when the focus is on the CO2 emissions of the system. Foods with high water content or plant-based protein sources can be energy efficient in anaerobic digestion processes as well. In this case, selling food waste can be used as a complementary method.

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