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Backcasting to identify food waste prevention and mitigation opportunities for infant feeding in the maternity services
Ryan-Fogarty, Yvonne; Becker, Genevieve; Moles, Richard; O'Regan, Bernadette
Food waste in hospitals is of major concern for two reasons: first, healthcare needs to move toward preventative and demand led models for sustainability and second, food system sustainability needs to seek preventative measures such as diet adaptation and waste prevention. The impact of breast-milk substitute use on health services is well established in literature in terms of healthcare implications, cost and resourcing, however as a food demand and waste management issue little has been published to date. This paper presents the use of a desk based backcasting method to analyse food waste prevention, mitigation and management options within the Irish Maternity Service. Best practice in healthcare provision and waste management regulations are used to frame solutions. Strategic problem orientation revealed that 61% of the volume of ready to use breast-milk substitutes purchased by maternity services remains unconsumed and ends up as waste. Thirteen viable strategies to prevent and manage this waste were identified. Significant opportunities exist to prevent waste and also decrease food demand leading to both positive health and environmental outcomes. Backcasting methods display great promise in delivering food waste management strategies in healthcare settings, especially where evidenced best practice policies exist to inform solution forming processes. In terms of food waste prevention and management, difficulties arise in distinguishing between demand reduction, waste prevention and waste reduction measures under the current Waste Management Hierarchy definitions. Ultimately demand reduction at source requires prioritisation, a strategy which is complimentary to health policy on infant feeding.
Keyword(s): backcasting; food waste; waste prevention; green healthcare; waste hierarchy
Publication Date:
Type: Journal article
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Language(s): English
Institution: University of Limerick
Funder(s): Environmental Protection Agency
Citation(s): Waste Management;61, pp. 405-414
Publisher(s): Elsevier
First Indexed: 2017-02-10 05:53:19 Last Updated: 2019-01-10 06:57:29