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Initiatives to reduce food waste

by Joan Marc Simon

Never before we have produced as much food as today and never before there has been as much hunger in the world. Our generation is determined to beat all the records… but it is up to us if they are going records of pride or records of shame.

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Up to 145 million Europeans (one fourth of us) could be under poverty line by 2025 if the current economic trend is not reversed. At the same time one third of the food for human consumtion produced at global level is never eaten… where did it go wrong?


But it doesn’t need to be like this. Many actions are taking place around Europe to fight food waste.

The EU’s resource efficiency roadmap foresees a 50% reduction, which the European Parliament says should be achieved by 2025. At a state level few member states have set targets. So far, France is the only one to have pledged to halve food waste by 2025. Each year the average French person throws away 20kg of waste food, costing roughly €400 per household annually. This figure includes 7kg of food thrown away with the packaging unopened.

The Netherlands has set an interim target of 20% for 2015. In Sweden, a similar reduction has been suggested for 2020.

In 2014 the European Commission is expected to come up with waste reduction targets, also addressing food waste.

But the most innovative actions are taking place at local level, which is where the real change needs to happen.

Below you can find some examples of how in the UK “the Pig Idea” plans to follow the Zero Waste Hierarchy and gives priority to feeding animals before using it for compost , in Slovakia some activists practice dumspter-diving to salvage perfectly edible food, in Catalonia an initiative trains people into food waste reduction, in Italy the Last Minute Market saves plenty of food every year…

The PIG Idea

The RE(F)USE idea in Slovakia

Do you happen to know other initiatives of local change in the field of food waste? Please share!

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There are 3 comments
  1. Hey Zero Waste Europe

    Here in Berlin there is a big wave of persons, who want to tackle the problem of food waste.
    It started with the platform
    It is partly english and on the “What is food sharing page it says: is an Internet platform that gives individuals, traders and manufacturers the opportunity to offer or collect excess food. By using you can get together with others to cook and share excess food instead of throwing it away.
    The basic idea is: people share food. No money is involved because sharing also has an ethical dimension. We want to restore food’s value because it is more than just pure merchandise – this is the idea behind”
    This is made possible by having a map, and every registered user can add food baskets to it, with a description of food they have to give away. Then someone can see the food basket on the map and get in contact with the person. Since most of the waste is thrown away by the supermarkets, food stores and bakeries it has been progressed even further. Even tho there is the food bank, they do not manage to get all possible food from the big markets and are sometimes not very reliable- they are still great, tho. But in extension to, there is also the platform (Foodsaver) , which is a more sufisticated platform in order to manage and organize the collection of food big markets, would throw away.
    It organizes responsibilites of city areas, contains maps, where people can put in markets, with which they are negotiating or already taking the food from and then organize teams in order to get the food from them and… eat it or distribute it in any way (on for example, giving it to other organizations, which use them). Since the network is not that large yet, markets, bakeries and chains, which are taking part are organic food stores. Some of them made an agreement on cooperation on nationa level.
    The platform is build by volunters, and although its still in beta, already working very well.
    Maybe this platform can be set up in other countries as well.

  2. I also read an article that in poorer countries, most food doesn’t even make it to the table. An estimated 15 to 35 percent of food may be lost in the fields, while another 10 to15 percent is spoiled during processing, transport, and storage.before it has a chance to be consumed. An estimated 15 to 35 percent of food may be lost in the fields, while another 10 to15 percent is spoiled during processing, transport, and storage.

  3. Robert

    Hi Folks! A friend of mine just launched his website He deeply believes in a sustainable business model. He creates coconut bowls from real coconuts in funky colors to brighten up homes and people. I highly recommend to check it out and thereby support his initiative to reduce waste and properly use what nature has to offer.

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