Waste not, want not: Household sentiment on food waste and the role of sustainable technologies

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Suss, Joel M.

Researchers from the multidisciplinary field of human-computer-interaction (HCI) created a sub-field known as sustainable HCI to address environmental problems through technological interventions. The HCI community has been beneficial to the sustainable food waste movement, but there have been few practical applications that directly raise awareness and target sustainable behavioral change (e.g., minimization of food waste) (Ganglbauer, Fitzpatrick, & Comber, 2013). To understand how technologies can be of use in the household food waste domain, this multi-phase research was guided by the following questions: 1) What are the day-to-day habits that influence food waste? 2) What else can we learn from food waste data when context is provided? 3) How can technology influence and encourage consumers to reduce food waste at home? To aid in the discovery, two-thirds of this research investigated the influences of household food waste through survey/interviews and one-third implemented a proof-of-concept (PoC) eco-feedback technology into homes to gather exploratory insights. From the outcome of our research, we were able to learn about the promising role of technology within the realm of food waste reduction. Receptivity open doors to other technological solutions for consumer homes. Researchers are already investigating unique engineering solutions for smart fridges to detect freshness and inventory management through machine learning and deep learning (Gull, Bajwa, Anwar, & Rashid, 2021)). Based on our findings, the design of data and feedback presentation will be an important factor to incorporate into engineering efforts to influence awareness and encourage behavioral changes for household food waste reduction.

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Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology