Food Waste on college campuses, Driving Forces and Possible Solution

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


First Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


The purpose of this literature review is to examine articles that relate to food waste on college campuses and then in turn applying that knowledge to campus dining services on Whittier college campus. Food waste is one of the major factors in Whittier Colleges overall ecological footprint and this survey will look at how to make that ecological footprint smaller while also looking into the different factors that effect that amount. The reasons as to why food waste is such a large part of environmental degradation is that as human society advances, so too will our interconnectedness with people being able to explore cultures that in the past were too far or too different from us to understand. With food being one of the largest indications of culture and being one of the easiest to share with other cultures, people are now able to eat and explore other cultures through food that would not have been possible without are globalized world. Because distance is no longer an issue the environmental impact of food and the waste it generates will also grow. How and where food is grown, transported, sold, eaten, and finally disposed of will become more and more important in the overall environmental impact. This review will take several articles including works and explore what food waste is and the effects its having on the environment, student’s perceptions towards sustainability, and the different possible solutions college administrations can take to lessen food waste amounts and to become from environmentally friendly institutions. In this review I will take the Theory of planned behavior created by Ajzen (1991) and will apply that to predicting students action towards food waste and how policy can be created to better affect food waste amount. I will also look into the possible solution of tray-less dining with examples from Thiagarajah and Getty (2013) and other cases of the effects enacting tray-less dining has on food waste amounts.


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