Retail store operations and food waste

Christoph Teller, Christina Holweg, Gerald Reiner, Herbert Kotzab (2018). “Retail store operations and food waste.” Journal of Cleaner Production 185, 981-997. Online at

Highlights: The paper identifies root causes of food waste across store formats and product categories. Case study research, process simulations and expert interviews reveal the following:

  • Demand side: Undesirable in-store customer behaviour and unpredictability of demand.
  • Supply side: Inefficient store operations and elevated product requirements.
  • Root causes differ across store format and product category characteristics.

Abstract: This paper focuses on the issue of food waste from a retail and store operations perspective, with the aim to identify the root causes of food waste occurrence at a retail store level across different store formats and product categories. To achieve this, we first conducted case studies, including semi-structured interviews with store managers. This exploratory research involved 28 cases across dominant retail store formats (i.e., super- and hypermarkets and discount and convenience stores). The results along with secondary data research underlie a process simulation modeling approach that quantifies the impact of selected root causes of food waste by considering the dependencies between them. Finally, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 food waste experts to confirm findings of the case studies and simulations and to delineate the practical implications of our research and the related solutions. Our findings show that the root causes of food waste are related to undesirable customer behavior and erratic demand, inefficient store operations and replenishment policies, and elevated product (quality) requirements of both retail organizations and customers. Root causes and their impacts differ across store formats and product categories. Furthermore, the interdependencies between the root causes in the different spheres of responsibility and influence (i.e., customers, the store, and the parent organization) are evident. The paper contributes to the literature by providing detailed understanding of retail operations related to the occurrence of food waste across store formats at a product-category level and revealing pathways for preventing and reducing the occurrence of food waste at a retail store level.

A New Environmentalism: The Need for a Total Strategy for Environmental Protection

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Environmental quality over the past 50 years has no doubt improved, but the pace of change is leaving in the dust the linear environmental strategies of the past. But how should the environmental protection enterprise be organized in the future, and who will shape this new paradigm? In A New Environmentalism: The Need for a Total Strategy for Environmental Protection, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) offers a new way to think about the environmental strategies of tomorrow.


Our clothes are contaminating our planet with tiny plastic threads

Read the full story at Ensia.

Minute fibers shed from synthetic textiles are polluting oceans, streams, rivers — even the air we breathe — with unknown consequences.

Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Environment

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This book explores recent developments in environmental cost-benefit analysis (CBA). This is defined as the application of CBA to projects or policies that have the deliberate aim of environmental improvement or are actions that affect, in some way, the natural environment as an indirect consequence. It builds on the previous OECD book by David Pearce et al. (2006), which took as its starting point that a number of developments in CBA, taken together, altered the way in which many economists would argue CBA should be carried out and that this was particularly so in the context of policies and projects with significant environmental impacts.

It is a primary objective of the current book not only to assess more recent advances in CBA theory but also to identify how specific developments illustrate key thematic narratives with implications for practical use of environmental CBA in policy formulation and appraisal of investment projects.

Perhaps the most significant development is the contribution of climate economics in its response to the challenge of appraising policy actions to mitigate (or adapt to) climate change. Work in this area has increased the focus on how to value costs and benefits that occur far into the future, particularly by showing how conventional procedures for establishing the social discount rate become highly problematic in this intergenerational context and what new approaches might be needed. The contribution of climate economics has also entailed thinking further about uncertainty in CBA, especially where uncertain outcomes might be associated with large (and adverse) impacts.

States’ Waste Paint Problem Becomes a Solution for Recyclers, Retailers

Read the full story at Waste360.

At one time, wasted paint was about 50 percent of the volume and cost of household hazardous waste (HHW) programs in California. Those figures started to improve after the state passed legislation requiring the paint industry to fund and operate a collection system for unwanted paints. Key to continued progress has been a program run by nonprofit PaintCare, created by paint manufacturers, to address these end-of-life materials.

PaintCare offers 1,775 year-round drop-off sites at hazardous waste facilities and retail sites in eight states and Washington, D.C. More than 27 million gallons of paint have been collected across location types since the program began in 2009.

With a Sniff and a Signal, These Dogs Hunt Down Threats to Bees

Read the full story in the New York Times.

In Maryland, a state employee is training dogs to inspect hives for harmful bacteria — a crucial job as honeybees are sent around the country to pollinate crops.


The Syllabus Project

Read the full post on the NICHE-Canada blog.

Has anyone else noticed how often environmental history syllabi largely omit women and scholars of colour?

A colleague’s initial Twitter query about good sources for an environmental syllabus was followed by dozens of excellent suggestions—but none of those suggested sources were written by women and few were by scholars of colour. Dolly Jørgensen  commented on this lack of diversity, and a lively Twitter discussion ensued about the structural reasons for underrepresentation.  A discussion on the Women’s Environmental History Network (WEHN) email list occurred simultaneously, while the #WomenAlsoKnowHistory hashtag and website were  in development.

David Fouser collated the numerous excellent suggestions offered by our fellow #twitterstorians and Nancy Langston created a collaborative website  ( and group Zotero library ( Anna Zeide tagged the many contributions in the Zotero library to make them more useful for scholars.  The Zotero library is intentionally collaborative, so anyone can join, add citations, and tag and annotate sources.  We then integrated the WEHN suggestions and invited other scholars to contribute. Currently, the Zotero group library has 53 active members who are collaborating to expand the list, and non-members are free to use the sources and citations.

Three Ways to Make Searching Google News Less Annoying

Read the full post from ResearchBuzz.

I love news searching. I do it a lot. Searching News sites instead of a general Web search engine is a good way to find items that are more detailed, more recent, and for the most part more credible, though there can be problematic content.

Google News has been my primary go-to news search engine since the old good ones (RIP Northern Light, RIP the really early LookSmart) have died. Unfortunately Google News’ redesign is — it’s awful, okay? I find it difficult to read and uninformative and just annoying. I avoid going to the “official” Google News Web site like the plague.

That does not mean I don’t  use Google News, however. I just use it a little differently. Let me share with you three hints for getting the most of out Google News that don’t involve going to the actual Google News site.

‘Climate Gentrification’ Will Deepen Urban Inequality

Read the full story at CityLab.

A new study investigates the intersection of climate change and real estate, and finds that higher elevations bring higher values.


100-Year-Old Frost Maps Show How Climate Change Has Shifted the Growing Season in the United States

Read the full post at Slate.

Published in a 1936 Atlas of American Agriculture,put together by the United States Department of Agriculture, these 1916 maps of the average dates of first killing frosts in fall and last killing frosts in spring were initially intended to help farmers plan their planting schedules. Now, the maps offer a rough gauge showing how much these dates have shifted over a century.