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Negotiating Food Waste: Using a Practice Lens to Inform Design
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Dr Robert Comber
Ganglbauer E, Fitzpatrick G, Comber R
ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
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Ecological sustainability is becoming of increasing concern to the HCI community, though little focus has been given yet to issues around food waste. Given the environmental impact of food waste, there is potential to make a significant difference. To understand everyday domestic practices around food and waste, we took a ‘practice’ lens and carried out a study in 14 households that involved interviews, in-home tours and, in 5 of the households, a FridgeCam technology probe. The analysis highlights that food waste is the unintended result of multiple moments of consumption dispersed in space and time across other integrated practices such as shopping and cooking, which are themselves embedded in broader contextual factors and values. We highlight the importance of respecting the complex negotiations that people make within given structural conditions and competing values and practices, and suggest design strategies to support dispersed as well as integrated food practices, rather than focusing on waste itself.
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