Defining Material Types
“Material type” refers to the materials that are included in the inventory (food only, inedible parts only, or both).
Any substance—whether processed, semi-processed, or raw—that is intended for human consumption. “Food” includes drink, and any substance that has been used in the manufacture, preparation, or treatment of food. “Food” also includes material that has spoiled and is therefore no longer fit for human consumption. It does not include cosmetics, tobacco, or substances used only as drugs. It does not include processing agents used along the food supply chain, for example, water to clean or cook raw materials in factories or at home.
Components associated with a food that, in a particular food supply chain, are not intended to be consumed by humans. Examples of inedible parts associated with food could include bones, rinds, and pits/stones. “Inedible parts” do not include packaging. What is considered inedible varies among users (e.g., chicken feet are consumed in some food supply chains but not others), changes over time, and is influenced by a range of variables including culture, socio-economic factors, availability, price, technological advances, international trade, and geography.
“Destination” refers to where food and/or the associated inedible parts go when removed from the food supply chain.
Diverting material from the food supply chain* (directly or after processing) to animals
*Excludes crops intentionally grown for bioenergy, animal feed, seed, or industrial use
Bio-based Materials / Biochemical Processing
Converting material into industrial products. Examples include creating fibers for packaging material, creating bioplastics (e.g., polylactic acid), making “traditional” materials such as leather or feathers (e.g., for pillows), and rendering fat, oil, or grease into a raw material to make products such as soaps, biodiesel, or cosmetics. “Biochemical processing” does not refer to anaerobic digestion or production of bioethanol through fermentation
Breaking down material via bacteria in the absence of oxygen. This process generates biogas and nutrient-rich matter. Codigestion refers to the simultaneous anaerobic digestion of food loss and waste and other organic material in one digester. This destination includes fermentation (converting carbohydrates—such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose—via microbes into alcohols in the absence of oxygen to create products such as biofuels)
Breaking down material via bacteria in oxygen-rich environments. Composting refers to the production of organic material (via aerobic processes) that can be used as a soil amendment
Sending material to a facility that is specifically designed for combustion in a controlled manner, which may include some form of energy recovery (this may also be referred to as incineration)
Spreading, spraying, injecting, or incorporating organic material onto or below the surface of the land to enhance soil quality
Sending material to an area of land or an excavated site that is specifically designed and built to receive wastes
Leaving crops that were ready for harvest in the field or tilling them into the soil
Abandoning material on land or disposing of it in the sea. This includes open dumps (i.e., uncovered, unlined), open burn (i.e., not in a controlled facility), the portion of harvested crops eaten by pests, and fish discards (the portion of total catch that is thrown away or slipped)
Sending material down the sewer (with or without prior treatment), including that which may go to a facility designed to treat wastewater
Sending material to a destination that is different from the 10 listed above. This destination should be described
Defining Boundary Dimensions
The type(s) of food included in reported food loss and waste
Examples: All food, dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken
The stage(s) in the food supply chain or food lifecycle within which reported food loss and waste occurs
Examples: Entire food supply chain, two stages: manufacture of dairy products and retail of food and beverage, at home
Geographic borders within which reported food loss and waste occurs
Examples: World (all countries), Eastern Asia, Ghana, Nova Scotia (Canada), Lima (Peru)
Organizational unit(s) within which reported food loss and waste occurs
Examples: All sectors in country, entire company, two business units, all 1,000 stores, 100 households