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This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only



Publication Details

Journal of Environmental Management


This study aimed to investigate consumer behaviour towards food waste in Ireland by analysing their attitudes and quantities of food waste generated. Global warming potential of the food waste generated weekly is then assessed. A total of 2115 participants from all over the Republic of Ireland contributed to the survey (of which 2062 were included in this research). Using factor and cluster analysis, two clusters of consumers were formed based on their attitudes towards food waste, and it was found that 62.56% of the sample were ‘uncaring’ consumers and 37.44% were ‘caring’ consumers. The uncaring consumers consisted of more young males and were relatively unphased by food waste and take minimal precautions to reduce food waste at all stages of consumption. In contrast, caring consumers consisted of older and female consumers and were deeply disturbed by food waste, taking all precautions to reduce food waste at every stage of consumption. Regarding food waste quantities, uncaring consumers produced on average, 0.74 kg of food waste weekly, accounting for 2.74 kg of CO2 equivalent in global warming potential, whereas caring consumers produced only half this amount. Our results thus suggest that consumers attitudes towards food waste directly impact the food waste quantities they generate and consequently the global warming effects. However, in Ireland all consumer groups can benefit from more information about food waste and our study contributes by providing information that can inform strategic communication campaigns at policy or organisational level, to educates consumers about food waste and how they are contributing to global warming.