Hoehn, Daniel; Margallo, María; Laso, Jara; Ruiz-Salmón, Israel; Bala, Alba; Batlle-Bayer, Laura; Fullana-i-Palmer, Pere; Aldaco, Rubén
Food loss and waste (FLW) prevention and a properly management represents a societal imperative needed to achieve a transition of food systems towards a circular economy. In this sense, life cycle approaches provide policy-relevant and consistent assessments for the evaluation of the environmental impacts of FLW generation and management. To assess the economic cost of FLW, the Life Cycle Costing (LCC) methodology is being increasingly used to develop analyzes combining environmental and socio-economic aspects. In this framework, in Spain an important fraction of the FLW generated is still landfilled. The rest is managed in the 10 existing thermal treatment plants, or in mechanical-biological treatment stations, based on aerobic composting or anaerobic digestion systems. This study aims to include an LCC approach to a previous work that evaluated the carbon footprint for the 17 Spanish regions from 2015 until 2040 in a framework of (i) compliance and (ii) non-compliance with the Paris Agreement targets. Therefore, the prices of four different FLW management options are assessed: i) landfill, ii) thermal treatment, iii) aerobic composting, and iv) anaerobic digestion. Additionally, the existing taxes at any FLW management option and Spanish region, the national and European landfill restrictions, and the projected evolution of the CO2 prices until 2040, are tabulated. The social assessment is included by quantifying the generated or maintained local employees. The system boundaries includes all the FLW generated along the entire food supply chain. This study aims to link the assessment of the environmental, social and economic sustainability in the Spanish food sector, for providing a holistic approach when developing regionalized FLW management policies in Spain.