Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2023

Document Access

Restricted Project/Capstone - USF access only

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Jalel Sager


Consumption-based emissions offer a different perspective on emissions accounting by attributing embedded emissions to the consumer of a good or service, rather than to the manufacturer or exporter (Stanton et al., 2011). This is the lens used to examine the impact of our food system and food waste in this paper: the food system is responsible for an estimated 34% of global emissions, and an estimated 32% of edible food never makes it on to anyone’s plate (Lipinski et al., 2013). By examining the consumption-based emissions inventories, waste characterization studies, and zero waste programs of three Bay Area jurisdictions, this paper compares the footprint of food and food waste in San Francisco, Marin County, and Oakland. An analysis of the different programs and strategies utilized in each municipality to achieve zero waste and climate change goals is conducted, and themes such as the relationship between wealth and emissions footprint are discussed. Finally, recommendations are made to local governments on how to reduce the consumption-based emissions footprint of food, including edible food recovery, composting, food date labeling, consumer education, and regional cooperation.

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