fbpx Food waste behavioural change research and results | Bayside City Council Go to top of page

Food waste behavioural change research and results

Dealing with waste is one of the biggest challenges faced by communities across Australia. We have completed research to determine the most effective means of influencing community behaviour to reduce household food waste in kerbside garbage collection.

Background

We have delivered different types of community education programs over the past few years but we wanted to really look into what would work the best given our time-poor lifestyles. We wanted to find out a bit more about what would appeal to the community in the food waste reduction space so we undertook some research on interventions for reducing food waste behaviour.

The research took place from late 2017 to early 2018 and involved over 100 local residents. We selected a suburb with a high proportion of families with kids under the age of 15 and invited them to participate in an experiment to assess some educational interventions. Participants were required to complete 2 surveys and agree to 2 bin audits and were randomly allocated to 1 of 4 groups:

  • Control (no intervention)
  • Group A - Food Waste Reduction Pack (email or mail-out options)
  • Group B - Facebook Page (online), or 
  • Group C - Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs course (online).

Project Methodology

Behaviour survey 1

The groups were asked to complete an initial survey that tested current behaviours.

Bin audit 1

Waste was collected from each household and food waste was then categorised into packaged, unavoidable and avoidable food waste items and weighed in kilograms.

Educational intervention (testing engagement) 

Groups were then asked to read, participate and engage in the different educational tools e.g Facebook posts, watching videos, reading fact sheets

Bin audit 2

A second bin audit was conducted to see if household waste had decreased.

Behaviour survey 2

This survey asked the same questions to see if there had been a positive shift towards reducing household waste, particularly packaged and avoidable food waste. Additional questions were asked about how the participants reacted to the education programs.

Research results

Total waste and food waste both reduced over the research period.

Bin audit 1

Total waste audited was 940kg. Food waste was 321kg (24% avoidable food waste).

Bin audit 2

Total waste audited was 490kg. Food waste was 197kg (11% avoidable food waste).

A positive behavioural change was evident across most groups with audits showing the:

  • Don't Feed The Bin facebook page had a slight increase of food waste by 5%
  • Control group reduced food waste by 5%
  • Food waste reduction information pack reduced food waste by 17%
  • Self-sufficiency in the Suburbs online course reduced food waste by 61%

Programs that provided the largest food waste reduction from audit 1 to 2 were the Food waste reduction pack and Self-sufficiency in the Suburbs online course.

help stop food waste graph

Download the research outcomes PDF

Help stop food waste community research outcomes paper (PDF, 1.86MB)

How will this research help?

The results from this project will enable us to be better prepared in how we can roll out food waste educational messages to households in Bayside. This will help us develop tools to encourage our community to shift their attitudes and plan, shop, cook and store smarter; save money and more importantly our environment.

Tools to help stop food waste

Join Self-sufficiency in the Suburbs for free today (no joining fee until December 2019).

Join our Don't Feed the Bin Facebook community

Check out the Don't Feed the Bin fact sheets