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Fighting Food Waste by Law: Making Sense of the Chinese Approach

Y. Feng (), C. Marek () and J. Tosun ()
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Y. Feng: Nanjing University
C. Marek: Heidelberg University
J. Tosun: Heidelberg University

Journal of Consumer Policy, 2022, vol. 45, issue 3, No 5, 457-479

Abstract: Abstract The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress adopted the Anti-food Waste Law of the People’s Republic of China in April 2021 to guarantee grain security, conserve resources, and protect the environment. We pursue three research questions: Why has China implemented a law with sanctions to reduce food waste, and why now? Why does the law target the catering industry? To answer these questions, we collected primary data through semi-structured interviews with government officials, as well as secondary data through recorded interviews available online with officials of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) and food waste activists, as well as NPCSC conference reports. We find a legal approach with sanctions was necessary since cultural aspects, specifically conventional Chinese dining habits and pop culture, are difficult to regulate through instruments without sanctions. In addition, we find the Chinese law focuses on the catering industry for a few reasons: (1) More waste is generated by the catering industry than households, (2) waste from the catering industry is easier to monitor than household waste, and (3) this was a response to citizen requests collected during the Anti-food Waste Law public consultation process.

Keywords: Food waste; Food law; Social movements; Food security; Policy development; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s10603-022-09519-2

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