Household food waste in Nordic countries: Estimations and ethical implications

Mickey Gjerris, Silvia Gaiani


This study focuses on food waste generated by households in four Nordic countries: Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Based on existing literature we present (A) comparable data on amounts and monetary value of food waste; (B) explanations for food waste at household level; (C) a number of public and private initiatives at national levels aiming to reduce food waste; and (D) a discussion of ethical issues related to food waste with a focus on possible contributions from ecocentric ethics. We argue that reduction of food waste at household level, which has an impact on issues such as climate change and unjust distribution of food resources, needs to be based on an appreciative and relational understanding of nature and food and not only on economic and moralizing arguments. This is done by drawing on an ecocentric perspective where food is seen as one of the areas where new narratives need to be developed to establish cultural habits replacing a focus on affluence and individual choice with a focus on participatory embeddedness in a more-than-human lifeworld.


food waste, food ethics, Nordic countries, ecocentric, motivation

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