Food waste from a university campus in the Middle East: Drivers, composition, and resource recovery potential

A. H. Abdelaal, Gordon McKay, Hamish Mackey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Food waste is a pressing issue that imposes economic, social and environmental impacts on both developing and developed countries. This study analyzes quantitatively and qualitatively the generated food waste at various food outlets of a university campus in Qatar. It is a fundamental step to manage the issue of food waste from educational institutes. The investigation comprised four stages: screening, sampling, surveying, and synthesis. Food waste generation at the sampled locations was estimated at 329.5 kg/day or 80 t/year. Based on per sales estimates, total food waste was 980 g/sale and 757 g/sale at the student male and female housing complexes, respectively, equating to roughly one wasted meal for each sold meal. The majority of this waste was avoidable waste and the root cause for the excessive food waste generation was overproduction rather than consumer wastage. The study found that the main food provider, who primarily serves buffet style meals, lacks the proper tools to measure food waste generated at their cafeterias. Past experience was the primary tool to support the company's demand management estimation which has proven unsuccessful and highlights the need to not only educate the consumer but also food providers. Possible treatments routes are discussed based on food waste characterization findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
JournalWaste Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019



  • Academic institute
  • Buffet
  • Catering
  • Display waste
  • Food service provider

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal

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