Investigating food waste recycling in local food service businesses: A case study from a local government area in Australia

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Worldwide, over 1.3 billion tonnes of food goes to waste each year, and much of this is disposed of in landfill, which is costly to the economy and the environment. This study targeted food waste management in local food service businesses as the third largest producer of food waste and a sector that has received less academic attention than other food waste producers (such as household food waste). Questionnaires and interviews were used to investigate current food waste management practices within food service businesses in a Local Government Area in Adelaide, South Australia. Twenty-two respondents completed the online questionnaire and three of these businesses also participated in an interview—two in-person at their business premises and one via an online teleconferencing system. It was found that 54% (n = 12) of these businesses have practices in place to recycle their food waste, while 46% (n = 10) do not. Insufficient kitchen space and the difficulty of separating food waste from non-compostable rubbish were reasons given for not recycling food waste, and the single most important factor that would encourage food waste recycling cited by businesses was the provision of a free, green organics bin. Motivations for recycling food waste included compassion for the environment and the desire to divert waste from landfill. These insights may help local government implement solutions to reduce food waste from entering landfill.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13846
Number of pages12
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2021


  • Composting
  • Food service businesses
  • Food waste
  • Recycling


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