Food Waste Reduction is a Common European Issue

Food Waste Reduction is a Common European Issue

2015. 07. 13.

European citizens waste approximately 90 million tons of food every year. This means 180 kilograms of food per person is thrown out. Often even 50 percent of healthy and edible foods will end up in the garbage bin in households, stores, restaurants, and at other points on the food supply chain. Comparatively, 79 million EU citizens live in poverty and 16 million have to live from food contributions provided to them by charity organizations. György Hölvényi noted that “food banks, charity and other civic organizations may play a significant role in the efforts to decrease food waste.”  Since 2005, Hungary and the Hungarian Food Bank Association have distributed 34 thousand tons of food to the poor. Thanks to them, donations made with the help of nearly 220 civil society groups and municipalities will reach more than 300 thousand people annually.

Through the European Parliament’s decision on the so-called circular economy, it committed to a 30 percent reduction of food waste from stores, the hospitality industry and households by 2025, compared to the present level. The decision, at the same time, reinforces the partnership between the small trade in food and charitable organizations. Consequently, unsold but still consumable products will more easily reach the people in need. “By the declaration of the European Parliament, the Commission must act,” Hölvényi said. However, the body responsible for proposing EU legislation has crossed off the former, circular economy plans from its 2015 working agenda. The plans, besides recyclability and waste reduction, were to determine the overall goals for the reduction of food waste.

György Hölvényi, jointly with the Hungarian Food Bank Association, submitted formal questions to the European Commission. He asked what measures the Commission was planning to take concerning the issue of food waste reduction in the EU, in light of the facts above. In addition, the Christian Democrat politician is expecting answers concerning the financial resources the Commission is planning on utilizing in order to accomplish these goals. At the same time, he enquired whether the Commission is planning to propose year 2016 as “the year for food waste reduction.”

The EU Commission is required to answer within a six-week period.