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Household Food Waste in the UK

Discuss about the Handbook of Business and the Environment.

System is the separate parts that are interrelated to each other for working towards common goals. System thinking approach helps in addressing and resolving these sustainability challenges (Moscardo 2013). The study is focusing on a wicked problem faced due to the food waste in UK household. The system thinking concentrates on the individual parts of the problem and creates the interrelation between those parts. The study would thus concentrates on the development of the theoretical model suitable to define system thinking in resolving the issues with household food waste in UK. Furthermore, the study would describe the three pillars of sustainability to develop the clear understanding regarding the wicked problem chosen for this study.

Household food waste is one of the most challenging issues in the sustainability parameter in UK. It is evident that UK family is wasting nearly £60 per month by throwing away the entire meal each day. A report is showing that the most of the challenges arise due to the ongoing scale of household food waste in UK. It is noticed that Britons are throwing almost 24 meals a month and adding up to 4.2 million tones of drink and food every year, which could have been consumed (Derbyshire.gov.uk 2018). Even half of these foods go straight from the refrigerator into the bin. In fact, it is reported that the household in UK waste the one-fifth of the food of which almost 60% could have been eaten. In Britons, people are still throwing away almost 86 million chickens every year (Sheffield 2018). Mostly, breads, milk, and potatoes are the top three meals that are thrown away by the UK household. The equivalent of 5.8m potatoes, 24m bread slices, and 5.9m glasses of milk are wasted per day (Smithers 2018). In addition to this, it has been observed that the pastries and cakes also belong to the top 10 items that are wasted every day in UK. The Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP), the government’s waste advisory body, has presented the report, which reflects that since 2007, the avoidable household food waste has been reduced by almost 21% to 4.2m tones that saved almost £13bn (Wrap.org.uk 2018). WRAP also reported that UK government has failed to reach the predetermined target of cutting household food waste in 2015. The system thinking approach is thus undertaken for going deeper into the problem to resolve the issues and maintain sustainability.

Reasons behind Continuous Food Wastage

In order to develop the understanding regarding the household food waste, it is essential to identify the reasons behind the continuous food wastages. Dui?, Urbaniec and Huisingh (2015) defined that the food waste in the household sometimes involves the psychological factors. For example, people sometimes do not care or unaware about the sustainability challenges that might occur due to the food waste. Many people even can afford to waste the extra foods instead of giving it away to the needy people. Dawodu, Akinwolemiwa and Cheshmehzangi (2017) identified that high quality standards and the inefficient purchase planning lead to food waste. On the contrary, Haines (2016) argued that some upper class in the UK family buy too much or cook too much due to which they tend to waste food more. Even sometimes, the lack of kitchen skills affects the food quality that does not taste good to people. Therefore, they often waste the food due to their reluctance in consuming the poor quality foods. Many people are much conscious about the food safety and they become high sensitive in consuming the healthy foods. They often thus waste the food, which affects the balance in maintaining sustainability. There are some of the socio-economic characteristics of the food waste also found in the generation. It has been observed that age-younger people generate more food waste. In fact, it is also noticed that people with higher income rate generate the food waste eve more than the people in middle income rate. The monetary factors create more effects on this household food waste that affects the sustainability parameter. Mulligan (2014) observed that larger size household produce the food waste more than the single family household. This waste is generally measured on a per capital basis. Among the single household, the households with younger children tend to waste the food much significantly. These specific characteristics of household food waste create the sustainability issues in UK much recognizably.

According to Benn et al. (2014), every system is the assimilation of the interconnected parts that affect the entire systems including the other associated part. Going deeper into the problem would provide the proper solution to the issues. The six stages of the system thinking provide the six types of systematic approach to understand the complex problem and presenting the suitable solutions accordingly. The first stage of system thinking is tell the story, which indicates that the problem can be understood by looking deeper into the whole system instead of any individual part (Jackson 2010). For example, household food waste in UK is a crucial matter in UK. However, it is required concentrating on the entire food habits and waste habits for understanding the source of issues more precisely. The use of the concept maps help in understanding the issue in a prominent way. The second stage is Drawing Behaviour Over Time (BOT) graphs. It defines that while thinking about the problem, people are mostly influenced by the current situation even though the problem follows a particular time dimension (Ricketts 2012). This graph represents a curve that defines the specific behaviour through the time indication. For example, if food waste is the problem to sustainability then the time horizon of issues would be the other segment of the curve. This time specification would help in understanding whether the issues with the household food waste can be resolved or not.

System Thinking Approach to Resolving Issues

The third stage is to create a focusing statement, which provides the clear vision about the problem solving process and defines the target of the team to resolve the issue (Weber and Soderstrom 2011). For instance, UK government had set a target to reduce the percentage of the food waste by 2015. However, the government failed to achieve the target. Hence, the time period within which the target was set to resolve the issue falls under this third stage of system thinking. The fourth stage is the identification of the structure, which presents the statement after having the clear vision about the problem (Weber and Soderstrom 2011). The recognition of the behavioural pattern associated with the description of the issue defines this stage more appropriately. In describing the wicked problem of household food waste, the behavioral pattern of the people is needed to be recognized more clearly. The fifth stage is going deeper into the issue, which tends to look after the underlying problems (Robertson 2014). It clarifies the four items, such as purpose of the entire system, the mental models, the larger system, and the personal role in the specific situation. While discussing the wicked problem, it is necessary to address these specifications to dig deeper into the matter.

The final stage is to plan an intervention, which requires the collected data regarding the issues chosen for the study (Pandey and Kumar 2016). In order to develop the intervention phase, it is essential to collect the sufficient information regarding the household food waste in UK. The modifications made in the current situation would be helpful enough in connecting to the related parts associated with the thinking system. The intervention leads to reach the desirable behaviour for resolving the issue. The maintenance of this system thinking approach can provide the necessary insights regarding the issues with the household food waste in UK.

The three pillars of sustainability is a conceptual management tool that provides the insightful ideas about the three major components of sustainability, such as social, environment, and economic (Mulligan 2014). The household food waste in UK creates the adverse effects on these three pillars of sustainability. In discussing the economic factors in household food waste, it has been observed that it plays the significant role in molding the minds of the people. In the year of 2009, WRAP developed the econometric model, which examines the interplay between the macroeconomic factors (Sheffield 2018). Such of these factors are the household awareness regarding the food waste, the income rate, waste ratio of the household, and the weight of the food they purchase on a daily basis. In the year of 2011, WRAP published the report that revealed that 1.1 million tones reduction in the household food waste between the years of 2007 to 2010 (Sustainablefoodtrust.org 2018).

The Three Pillars of Sustainability

Food waste not only damages the economy, it equally affects the environmental functions. It is notable that food is produced through production, distribution, stores, and cooking process. The use of the fuel, energy, and water is necessary and these elements emit the greenhouse gas that contributes to the climate change. When the food is wasted, it wastes the water as well. One loaf of bread consumes 100 buckets of water whereas a chicken breast consumes 54 buckets of water (Derbyshire.gov.uk 2018). Therefore, it is an issue of environmental sustainability as well. On the other hand, the report also reveals about the social impacts on food waste. In spite of the target set by the government, it has been observed that the food waste is a persisting issue in UK household. Many people in society are going hungry whereas the upper society is considerably wasting more amounts of foods per day. It is notable that younger generation in the society is more likely wasting food. Many people have become more health conscious and their sensitiveness towards healthy food makes them wasting food more. Hence, it is an societal issue that is needed to be reduced. The household in UK waste the one-fifth of the food of which almost 60% could have been eaten or provided to the people who need it. In describing the societal impacts, it is also notable that high quality standards and the inefficient purchase planning lead to food waste (Weber and Soderstrom 2011). There are some of the socio-economic characteristics of the food waste also found in the generation. It has been observed that age-younger people generate more food waste. Until there is an awareness program arranged alerting people about the reduction of food waste, the ratio would increase per year. Moreover, it is also necessary for the UK government to undertaken the hands on approach to reduce such issues more precisely. A joined up policies against such food waste could help the UK government to reach the target of reducing this food waste ratio.

Conclusion

The study is widely focusing on the system thinking approach to reduce the issue with household food waste in UK. It has been observed that Britons are throwing almost 24 meals a month and adding up to 4.2 million tones of drink and food every year, which could have been consumed. The Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP), the government’s waste advisory body, has presented the report, which reflects that the considerable amount of food waste is affecting the economy of UK in a significant manner. The unawareness regarding the food sustainability, the tendency of young generation to consume larger amount of healthy foods, the nature of people belong to high income scale of food wasting are the major reasons of such food waste in UK. The system thinking approach helps in going deeper to the issues to analyze how the issues can be resolved. The effects created on the society, environment, and economic aspects are needed to be followed up by the UK government. It is essential to take some hands on approaches to deal with the problem and reduce the ratio of household food waste.

References

Benn, S., Dunphy, Dexter, Griffiths, and Andrew 2014 Organizational Change for Corporate Sustainability. Third ed. Taylor and Francis, Hoboken.

Dawodu, A., Akinwolemiwa, B. and Cheshmehzangi, A., 2017. A conceptual re-visualization of the adoption and utilization of the Pillars of Sustainability in the development of Neighbourhood Sustainability Assessment Tools. Sustainable cities and society, 28, pp.398-410.

Derbyshire.gov.uk, 2018. Environmental impact of food waste: Environment - Derbyshire County Council. [online] Derbyshire.gov.uk. Available at: <https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/environment/rubbish_waste/love_food_hate_waste/environmental-impact/default.asp> [Accessed 10 Apr. 2018].

Dui?, N., Urbaniec, K. and Huisingh, D., 2015. Components and structures of the pillars of sustainability. Journal of cleaner production, 88, pp.1-12.

Haines, S., 2016. The systems thinking approach to strategic planning and management. CRC Press.

Jackson, T, 2010, Prosperity without growth: Planning for a sustainable economy (THE ECONOMICS REVOLUTION). Pacific Ecologist, vol. 19, no. 10, pp. 10-18.

Moscardo, G 2013, Sustainability in Australian Business: Principles and practice. John Wiley and Sons Australia, Queensland.

Mulligan, M 2014, An Introduction to Sustainability: Environmental, Social and Personal Perspectives, Taylor and Francis, Hoboken.

Pandey, A. and Kumar, A., 2016. System Thinking Approach to Deal with Sustainability Challenges. Proceedings of International Conference on Science, Technology, Humanities and Business Management, pp.29-30.

Ricketts, A 2012, The activists' handbook: a step-by-step guide to participatory democracy, Zed Books, London

Robertson, M 2014 Sustainability Principles and Practice, Taylor and Francis, Hoboken

Sheffield, H., 2018. Why is UK household food waste getting worse?. [online] The Independent. Available at: <https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/how-the-uks-household-food-waste-problem-is-getting-worse-a7520171.html> [Accessed 10 Apr. 2018].

Smithers, R., 2018. Food waste report shows UK families throw away 24 meals a month. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/07/uk-households-food-waste> [Accessed 10 Apr. 2018].

Sustainablefoodtrust.org, 2018. Sustainable Food Trust. [online] Sustainable Food Trust. Available at: <https://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/why-are-uk-households-throwing-away-more-food/> [Accessed 10 Apr. 2018].

Weber, K., and Soderstrom, S. 2011, ‘Social movements, Business and the Environment’ in Bansal, P & Hoffman, A (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Business and the Environment, Oxford University Press, pp. 248-265

Wrap.org.uk, 2018. Econometric modelling and household food waste | WRAP UK. [online] Wrap.org.uk. Available at: <https://www.wrap.org.uk/content/econometric-modelling-and-household-food-waste> [Accessed 10 Apr. 2018].

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My Assignment Help. 'Handbook Of Business And The Environment: A System Thinking Approach To Resolving Wicked Problems Of Household Food Waste In The UK' (My Assignment Help, 2019) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/handbook-of-business-and-the-environment> accessed 24 June 2024.

My Assignment Help. Handbook Of Business And The Environment: A System Thinking Approach To Resolving Wicked Problems Of Household Food Waste In The UK [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2019 [cited 24 June 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/handbook-of-business-and-the-environment.

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