An estimated 35.3 million tons of food waste are landfilled each year in the United States, causing negative environmental, economic, and social impacts and almost half of that waste is from households (US EPA, 2017). To meet EPA goals for landfill diversion of food waste, the material can be captured as a resource and re-used through methods such as composting. However, participation in household food waste collection programs is lacking; there is a need to understand the interplay between the individuals’ responsible for providing the waste stream and the pickup services providing the infrastructure to collect and manage the separated material. This dissertation serves to fill this gap through three steps. First, the Theory of Planned Behavior is used to identify the important factors and beliefs that influence individuals’ intention to separate household food waste. Then, semi-structured interviews provide an in-depth analysis of the challenges and operations food waste pickup services face from the entrepreneurs themselves. Finally, the first comprehensive review of food waste pickup services was completed to establish their attributes, like price, and compare them with the preferences of consumers. The findings will provide missing information and identify the barriers and opportunities that stakeholders, municipal and industry alike, can use to support participation in landfill diversion of household food waste through growth and development of food waste pickup services.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Food waste--Management--Psychological aspects; Food waste--Management--Economic aspects; Consumers--Attitudes

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Sustainability (Ph.D.)

Department, Program, or Center

Sustainability (GIS)


Callie Babbitt

Advisor/Committee Member

Thomas Trabold

Advisor/Committee Member

Kaitlin Stack Whitney


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes