Age Factor in Food Waste in Malaysia

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In Malaysia from 29,000 tons of total solid waste created in a day, about 45% of it consist of food waste. The estimated expanding population which is exceeding 28 million people by 2020, can contribute to enormous solid waste increment which is about 30,000 tons within a day (National Solid Waste Management Department, 2013). For now, it is studied that the rate of food waste reuse and recycle is relatively low (5%) when compared to plastic (15%) and paper (60%) (Moh Manaf, 2014). In our country, there is no specified way for a proper food waste disposal as there is for both paper and plastic. Therefore, food waste partition is restricted and treating the food waste is not emphasized at bigger scale in Malaysia (Moh Manaf, 2014)

On the other side, Malaysians nowadays have less awareness and understanding about the environmental issue. In reality, the food waste we create every day has a lot of adverse effect on the environment. Food waste will affect stink, climate, water, soil and biodiversity (Chang Mohd Zahari, 2015).

In addition, consumers are one of the biggest wellsprings of preventable food waste in developed nations, with over 60% of their waste considered avoidable (Gunders et al., 2017; Quested, Parry, Easteal, Swannell, 2011). Waste at the customer stage often takes the form of plate waste, but it can also include food that is discarded owing to other factors such as spoilage owing to bad planning or surplus purchases (Buzby et al., 2014; Gunders et al., 2017). Consumer’s level on waste frequently takes deterioration from lack of planning or overabundance buys because of impulsive purchasing or purchasing in mass (Gunders et al., 2017). A few clarifications for consumer sustenance squander are absence of connection among people and their food (Aschemann-Witzel, de Hooge, Amani, Bech-Larsen, Oostindjer, 2015); disarray over date labels (Gunders et al., 2017; Wilson, Rickard, Saputo, Ho, 2017); and minimal effort of squandering food (Gunders et al., 2017; Lusk Ellison, 2017).

In a recent research it shows age is negatively associated with wasteful food habits at the consumer level, and young adults with a age range from 18- 25 years old are one of the highest wasteful populations (Ellison Lusk, 2018; Quested et al., 2013; Secondi, Principato, Laureti, 2015; Stancu, Haugaard, Lähteenmäki, 2016; Stefan, van Herpen, Tudoran, Lähteenmäki, 2013; Thyberg Tonjes, 2016). This may be due to inherent psychological variations in this age group (Aschemann-Witzel et al., 2015). In particular, the behavior of younger people in food waste can be affected by higher rates of spontaneity, alignment with comfort, restricted knowledge in food management, and how trade-offs are managed (Aschemann-Witzel et al., 2015).

Notwithstanding these difficulties, counteractive action at the individual level has been distinguished as the most dominant approaches to decrease food waste (ReFED, 2016). Thus, a good understanding of factors that contributes to the number of food waste generated by students is crucial. In response of expanding the consciousness of the food waste issue, the quantity of studies that inspect food waste has expanded over the previous years (Porpino, 2016). Yet research specifically on university students’ actual behavior on food waste is lesser. So, this study is especially on university students, as they are the next generation of change-makers and also to study their intentions and actual behavior towards food waste.

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