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Understanding food waste reduction barriers

Our project aimed to conduct preliminary research to understand why 35-40% of the black bag waste (known as residual waste) in Harrow Council contains food waste in the presence of a separate food waste collection scheme and promotion of food waste reduction initiatives nationwide.

This is important to helping Harrow Council improve its sustainability, and promote maximisation of multi-dimensional (i.e. environmental, economic, social and technical) value recovery from waste. For example, the difference between incineration, which is widely practiced for the management of residual waste, and anaerobic digestion plants that are used for food waste management, is around £90 per tonne of waste. Diverting food waste from the residual waste stream could thus save the council money that can be used for other purposes benefiting the residents of the council (social value), whilst contributing to environmental and technical benefits (e.g. less waste disposed to landfill, carbon savings, and secondary resource production).

With this study we gained insights into householders' disengagement with the food waste collection and reduction practices (FWCR) promoted by the Council, and the obstacles that lead to such behaviour. This will enable us to develop the enabling mechanisms/ tools/ information that could support householders to change their attitude towards FWCR practices and effectively change their behaviour.

The study employed a qualitative research methodology in the form of online in-depth interviews with participants within the age group of 18-30 years old, which the Council considered to require the most attention. The Interviews have been analysed through thematic analysis. A summary of our findings has been disseminated to various stakeholders (council, practitioners, academics, residents) via a co-development workshop online, which generated a list of ideas on socio-technical solutions that could be developed to address FWCR in the council.

This project was funded by a HEIF Innovation Voucher. 


Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Professor Danae Manika - Danae Manika is Professor of Marketing and Associate Head at Brunel Business School, Brunel University London. Previously, she held academic appointments at Newcastle University, Queen Mary University of London, Durham University and the University of Texas at Austin. She served as Academic Group Head of Newcastle University London campus, Deputy Director of Research (NU London), and Research & Impact Lead of Marketing, Operations and Systems Group at Newcastle University Business School; and as Director of Marketing Interactions & Consumer Behaviour research group and Programme Director for the BSc in Marketing and Management at the School of Business and Management at Queen Mary University of London. She obtained a Ph.D and a M.A. in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA and a B.A. Honours in Marketing from University of Stirling, UK. Prof. Manika has also worked as an Account Planning Intern in advertising agencies such as Latinworks in Austin, TX, and DDB in New York. Using an interdisciplinary approach, blending the lines between marketing, advertising and psychology her research aims to answer a fundamental marketing research question: How to diminish the knowledge-behaviour gap? Particularly, her research focuses on effective message construction for behaviour change. She takes an information processing approach, which identifies, classifies and examines cognitive (e.g., knowledge, confidence, trust, values) and affective (e.g., pride, fear, disgust) factors that influence individuals’/consumers’/employees’ decisions and choices after exposure to campaigns/messages/interventions, and translate knowledge acquisition to behaviour change/formation. Prof. Manika is currently serving as Associate Editor (AE) for Business & Society and the Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising, while in the past she was AE for the Journal of Marketing Management (2017-21). She is also currently on the Editorial Review Boards of: Journal of Business Ethics,Technological Forecasting & Social Change, and Journal of Marketing Management; and has served in the past and currently as a guest editor across journals (Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Research, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Macromarketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Technological Forecasting and Social Change). Prof. Manika also served as Track 1 Chair for the 2021 Transformative Consumer Research conference (USA). She often engages in research projects that require collaborations with other disciplines such as medicine, engineering and geography; and her research has been supported by £284,000+ of funding (e.g., CRUK, EPSRC/Innovate UK, RED, and Arrow/ERDF). She also strongly believes in the interplay and interdependence of academia, government, business and society and hence she is often involved in various consultancies (e.g., Harrow Council, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council, RECOUP, Global Action Plan, Texas Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition), in line with her research (i.e., effective message construction for behaviour change) with the aim of linking theory and practice, which have led to the development of real-world research impact. Prof. Manika is also currently Visiting Professor of Marketing at Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle University and at the School of Business and Management at Queen Mary University of London. She previously held a Visiting Research Scholar position at the Centre of Risk Management and Insurance Research at McCombs Business School, University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA.

Related Research Group(s)

Entrepreneurship and Sustainability

Entrepreneurship and Sustainability - Our focus is on how individuals, businesses and societies can tap into creative and entrepreneurial flair to develop innovative solutions, in order to not only create economic value, but also solve social and environmental problems.


Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.


Project last modified 20/10/2021