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Drs. Hannibal & Vedlitz Publish Research on Food Waste and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Dr. Bryce Hannibal, ISTPP Assistant Research Scientist, and Dr. Arnold Vedlitz, Director Emeritus and Distinguished ISTPP Research Scholar, published their study on organization food waste in Environmental Science and Policy. Using ISTPP’s nationally representative survey on the water-energy-food nexus, the authors analyze how people’s understanding of nexus connections influences their concern about organizational food waste, and how this concern, in turn, affects their support for policies to reduce such waste.

The water-energy-food nexus refers to how these limited resources interconnect. Using one of resource inherently affects the other resources. For example, food production requires both water and energy. So, when food is thrown out, the inputs of water and energy are also wasted, thereby increasing inefficiencies in the nexus. These lost resources could have been put to other uses.

The researchers measured nexus awareness through two indices based on questions that indicate whether people recognize the ways in which water and energy connect to food production. Hannibal and Vedlitz then used the awareness indices to model their influence on people’s expressed levels of concern for food wasted by grocery stores, restaurants, and cafeterias. They also analyzed the effect of nexus awareness on people’s expressed support for waste reduction policies. Their results show that the more aware someone is of the food-water and the food-energy nexus, the greater that person’s concern is for organizational food waste and the more they support policies to address that food waste.

Hannibal, Bryce, and Arnold Vedlitz. 2018 "Throwing It Out: Introducing a Nexus Perspective in Examining Citizen Perceptions of Organizational Food Waste in the U.S.” Environmental Science & Policy 88: 63-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2018.06.012


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