Food waste initiatives set up to stop the rot

Published by Eric Maher on

13th March 2017

Ireland’s first ever action group on food waste in the retail sector was established last week along with a series of measures to tackle food waste in the country.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, launched the National Forum on Food Waste, which was hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Image result for food waste irelandThe EPA estimates that Irish households waste 700  euro worth of food each year, which is an average of eighty kg per person and 60% of all food wasted is avoidable. Two tonnes of food waste is created every minute.

“Obviously there will always be some food waste but, by initially focusing on avoidable and potentially avoidable food waste, you could cut the food you waste, and the money you spend on it, by anywhere up to 80%.”

The food waste initiatives will work with families, businesses, the agri-food sector and set up a food waste charter.

  • For families, more financial support for community initiatives to educate householders in reducing food waste and use of the brown bin;
  • For business, an Action Group on Wasted Food in the Retail Sector to agree and implement changes in retail to reduce food waste;
  • For the agri-food sector, collaboration with Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme to ensure agri-food producers give high priority to food waste prevention throughout the food chain – primary producers, food manufacturers, retailers and food service operators;
  • For everyone concerned by food waste, a Food Waste Charter which encourages people to express their commitment to fight food waste and to translate that into specific agreed actions.

Minister Naughten emphasized that “new insight is required as to how we can live within the capacity of our planet in terms of the materials we consume and the waste we must manage,” and expressed his belief that, “each initiative will address a challenge at some point in the supply and consumption chain.”

Special mention was given to the role of the retail sector in reducing food waste, with packaging being highlighted as having an environmental cost. “Reduced, or better food packaging also has a role to play – excessive or unsustainably sourced packing forms part of the environmental cost of food.  The appearance of fruit and vegetables is known to influence consumer buying. A significant part of total food wastage occurs at the consumer level.”

Further information on the Food Waste Charter and all food waste prevention measures can be accessed here.

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Eric Maher

Eric Maher is a contributor to the Green News. He has a Masters in Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama from UCD.