New HEAL Study: Household food wasting in a net-zero energy neighbourhood: Analyzing relationships between household food waste and pro-environmentalism

A team of researchers led by Haley Everitt with Paul van der Werf, Jamie Seabrook, and Jason Gilliland recently published an article entitled: “Household food wasting in a net-zero energy neighbourhood: Analyzing relationships between household food waste and pro-environmentalism.”

To address the prominent “value-action gap” within pro-environmental behaviour, this novel, cross-sectional study investigated relationships between household food wasting and pro-environmentalism.

Research was undertaken in 11 neighbourhoods across London, Ontario, Canada, including a net-zero energy neighbourhood. A direct measurement methodology was used to measure household food waste, and a survey was created to measure knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours related to food wasting.

Households in the net-zero energy neighbourhood sent between 2.59 kg and 2.80 kg of food waste to landfill per week, of which 68% was classified as avoidable and the remaining 32% as unavoidable. Households in this neighbourhood sent less total (p < 0.001) and unavoidable (p < 0.001) food waste to landfill than households in “regular” neighbourhoods within the same city. While participants in the net-zero neighbourhood had strong, self-reported pro-environmental worldviews, pro-environmentalism was not found to be stronger in this neighbourhood compared to the rest of the city. The presence of stronger, self-reported pro-environmental worldviews was associated with a decrease in unavoidable food waste generation (p < 0.01).

As the first study of its kind, further research is needed to verify the role of pro-environmentalism in household food wasting in Canada and beyond.

Citation: Haley Everitt, Paul van der Werf, Jamie Seabrook, and Jason Gilliland. “Household food wasting in a net-zero energy neighbourhood: Analyzing relationships between household food waste and pro-environmentalism.” Canadian Geographies (2024); https://doi.org/10.1111/cag.12921

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