Food waste valorization options: opportunities from the bioeconomy

Enrica Imbert 1
  • 1 Bioeconomy-in-transition Research Group, Unitelma Sapienza, University of Roma, Rome, Italy

Abstract

The world is confronted with the depletion of natural resources due to their unsustainable use, increased global competiveness, increasing population and other environmental and economic challenges. Under the European 2020 growth strategy launched in 2010, Europe has set itself the goal of shifting from linear to circular models of production and consumption. In this context, food waste management poses a great challenge. This study focusses on the possible destinations for food waste, specifically, on the most sustainable practices that turn waste into valuable resources. Particular attention is devoted to the potential offered by fast-growing sectors such as the bioeconomy, which is contributing to increased energy and materials production with reduced environmental impact, at the same time creating new job opportunities. In this paper we will argue that an holistic approach considering the issue of food wastage as part of a broader emerging bio-economy and circular-economic model, might provide win-win solutions able to minimize wastage, promote income growth and job creation, and prompt sustainable local development. However, in order to enable an effective transition to a circular bioeconomy able to minimize the impact of food wastage, the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of this new model must be properly evaluated through appropriate tools, e.g. through an overall Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA).

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