THE ENERGY AND RESOURCES GROUP FALL 2019 COLLOQUIUM SERIES PRESENTS:
SPEAKER: LAURA MORENO
DATE: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
PLACE: 126 Barrows
Let’s taco bout waste: Understanding why people discard food in households
Sometimes called the “world’s dumbest problem,” it is estimated that approximately 40% of the edible food available in the U.S goes uneaten, with households as the largest generators of food waste. However, the characterization of this problem as dumb or simple fails to acknowledge that its causes are complex and inextricably linked to the structure of our food system, our relationships with food, and the ever-shifting demands of everyday life. With the ultimate goal of designing interventions and policy to prevent food from being wasted in the first place, my PhD research explores what is discarded in homes and why. Join me to learn more about something we all do, even if it makes us feel guilty – wasting food at home.
Laura dug through trash for the first time over 15 years ago and never stopped asking the question “how can I make a career out of sorting through garbage?” During her PhD, she conducted mixed methods research on household-level food waste with a focus on measurement and consumer behavior. She collaborated with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to examine what and why food is discarded in U.S. households. She continues to work on consumer-level food waste as a member of a National Academies of Sciences study committee charged with providing evidence-based recommendations to help the U.S. meet the national goal to reduce food waste by 50%. Prior to her PhD, Laura worked at the U.S. EPA Pacific Southwest Region focusing on reducing organic waste materials and zero waste.