Alternative futures of circular food systems: the environmental consequences of adopting circularity at different spatial scales

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Applying circularity to the food system is increasingly seen as an important pathway to asustainable food system. Circular food systems increase resource use efficiency to reducethe environmental impact by closing the loop of materials and utilising residual streams(e.g. manure, co-products, food-waste). However, the scale at which the loop of materialsshould be closed (e.g. regional, national, continental, global) and how these residualstreams should be utilised (e.g. feeding to animals or applying to soils as fertiliser) is currentlyunknown. The availability of residual streams in the food system is highly dependent on thedietary choices of the population (i.e. the availability of the co-product wheat middling’sis determined by the consumption of wheat flour). Therefore, a food systems approach is required to understand the full extent of applying circularity in the food system. A food systems approach assess the environmental impact of the whole food system rather thanfocusing on the chain of a specific food product (i.e. a lifecycle approach). We propose creating a circular food system optimisation model using a food system approach to minimise the environmental consequences (e.g. land-use, greenhouse gas emissions, eutrophication)while providing an adequate diet for the population. Using two case studies: the Netherlands and New Zealand we will apply circular food system models to give insights into which crops should be grown were, how many animals should be kept, how residual streams should be utilised, and at which scale a circular food system should be applied under different production conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWIAS Annual Conference 2020
Subtitle of host publicationFrontiers in Animal Sciences
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2020
EventWIAS Annual Conference 2020: Frontiers in Animal Sciences - De Werelt Conference Centre, Lunteren, Netherlands
Duration: 13 Feb 202014 Feb 2020


ConferenceWIAS Annual Conference 2020
Internet address


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