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The contribution of food waste to global and European nitrogen pollution

Abstract : The global demand for food is responsible for a massive increase in the anthropogenic nitrogen input to the environment, with negative impacts on human and ecosystem health. However, despite the economic and environmental costs, the quantity of food that is wasted is substantial. This study quantifies the nitrogen loss to the environment related to food waste at consumption at the global and European scale and analyses its relative impact on the environment. We estimated that globally 2.7 Tg of nitrogen (N) are lost per year due to food waste at consumption (i.e. 9% of global food consumption), and that the virtual nitrogen (nitrogen delivered to the environment) associated with the global food waste is 6.3 TgN/yr. We performed a streamlined life cycle assessment on nitrogen emissions related to food waste in the European Union (EU27) to assess the impact on different environmental compartments. The results of this study are relevant for resource efficiency and pollution control policies related to nutrients, water, energy, climate, biodiversity and land use, as well as for scenario analysis of societal change in diet. The case of the EU27 is discussed. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - 11:55:46 AM
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Brum Grizzetti, Ugo Pretato, Luis Lassaletta, Gilles Billen, Josette Garnier. The contribution of food waste to global and European nitrogen pollution. Environmental Science and Policy, 2013, 33 (SI), pp.186-195. ⟨10.1016/j.envsci.2013.05.013⟩. ⟨hal-01195676⟩



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