Food waste in Bangkok: Current situation, trends and key challenges

In Resources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume (Issue): Volume 157, June 2020, 104779
Peer-reviewed Article

In the course of implementing the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, policymakers, practitioners and academics have increasingly acknowledged the urgency of addressing the food waste (FW) issue in urban areas of developing economies. This paper selected Bangkok as a case study to evaluate options for preventing and reducing FW. The current situation and tendency of FW generation was clarified based on official published data, and ways in which FW is generated by consumers were examined via a questionnaire survey, followed by a review of the relevant existing FW policies and strategies, to provide policy implications for tackling the issues raised. It found that detailed stipulations by law remain incomplete, resulting in the increasing trend of FW generation over the past decade, with most FW being mixed with municipal solid waste and landfilled. FW generation doubled from 2,860 tonnes per day in 2003 to 5,669 tonnes per day in Bangkok in 2018. The proportion of FW in MSW was 53% in 2018, a figure that has been rising since 2015. Per capita, FW was estimated to be 0.38–0.61 kg per day in 2018, which is high even when compared to developed cities. Sources of FW are distributed widely through the whole supply chain due to diverse dietary and eating habits, with a high frequency of eating out and consuming ready-made food. This paper offers recommendations for FW policies and innovative actions targeting the entire supply chain to achieve more effective FW management.