JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2021, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (6): 1455-1468.doi: 10.31497/zrzyxb.20210608

• Food Security Potential • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Measurement of the scale of food waste and its resources and environmental effects at the consumer segment in China

WANG Ling-en1(), NI Xiao-wen1,2, LI Yun-yun1,2,3(), CHENG Sheng-kui1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19348, USA
  • Received:2020-08-03 Revised:2020-11-09 Online:2021-06-28 Published:2021-08-28
  • Contact: LI Yun-yun;


Food waste and its resulting resources and environmental problems are closely related to global food security, while reducing food waste is gradually considered as Plan B for it. As the main part of food waste at the consumption segment, food waste generated by consumer is the main source of food loss and waste. In this study, the direct weighing method was adopted to obtain first-hand data of food waste of residents in typical areas of China (Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan, Shandong, Henan and Tibet), and for the first time, the total scale of food waste of residents' consumption and its resource and environmental effects were measured on a national scale. The results show that: (1) In 2018, a total of 34 million tons (67.33 g/d per capita) of food was wasted at the consumer segment in China. Grain waste accounted for the largest proportion (35.44%), followed by vegetables (34.83%) and meat (15.38%). (2) In 2018, food waste occupied 63 million hm2 of ecological footprint in China, and the per capita ecological footprint was 448 m2. Based on 1.5 hm2 of ecological footprint per capita in China, the ecological niche of 42 million people was encroached. Aquatic products (39.28%) and meat (34.22%) accounted for the largest ecological footprint of food waste, amounting to 24.56 million hm2 and 21.40 million hm2, respectively. The research results are helpful to promote the reduction of food waste at the consumption segment, and have important reference value and significance for alleviating the environmental impact and resource consumption pressure of food waste and improving global food security.

Key words: food waste, consumer segment, ecological footprint, food security