Policy Recommendations for Reducing Food Waste: A Survey and Analysis of Urban and Rural Household Food Waste in Harbin, China

In Sustainability
Volume (Issue): 15 (14)
Peer-reviewed Article

Food waste has become a pressing global issue in recent years. In China, the issue of food waste has become increasingly severe. As a provincial capital city, Harbin is also a major agricultural city in China with distinct urban and rural features. This paper uses Harbin as a case study to evaluate different strategies for preventing and reducing food waste based on these urban–rural differences. This research is based on official data on household food waste in urban and rural areas of Harbin, as well as data collected from 333 telephone surveys through stratified random sampling. Independent t-tests, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and logistic regression analysis were used to analyze the survey data, followed by a review of existing food waste policies and strategies. Our findings show that Harbin has had a positive response in adhering to national anti-food waste policies. However, its implementation has not been effective. There is a continuous increase in food waste generation. Moreover, gender, level of education, and household annual income have a significant impact on residents’ food waste habits and there are significant differences between urban and rural areas in terms of “eating out” and “ordering food ingredients”. The average daily amount of food waste generated by urban households is 3216.31 g, which is 2.4 times that of rural households. There are also differences in the causes of food waste between urban and rural residents due to different diets and eating habits. As a result, feasible and effective policy recommendations have been proposed to reduce food waste in response to these urban–rural differences.