Europe Declares War on Waste

Yesterday was a massive day in food waste news, as the European Parliament passed a resolution* targeting its reduction.

More specifically, Parliament called on the European Commission to tackle waste through an ambitious goal of halving food waste by 2025. And setting the stakes for inaction–waste will increase by 40 percent if nothing is done.

The resolution specifically pushed for many waste-reducing measures, like less confusing date labeling on food packaging, a wider range of package sizes with perishables, and country-specific food-waste-prevention targets by 2014.

The resolution also urged further education on the issue: EU and national food waste awareness campaigns, declaring a European Year Against Waste in 2014 (pushed back from 2013), and school courses teaching better food storage, cooking and disposal.

Salvatore Caronna, the Member of European Parliament (MEP) assigned to investigate the issue, provides some perspective:

For the first time a European institution is raising the point and it is going to goad the other institutions to act as well. Now the ball is in the Commission’s court and the Commission is going to have to very swiftly come up with replies.

In the coming days and weeks, we shall see if the European Commission, a 27 member executive body, is up to the task. Let’s hope they can continue the momentum and strike a blow against food waste!

* For the full text of the 2011/2175(INI), go here, download the Word doc and scroll to page 327! And here’s a way to trace the resolution’s evolution.

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  1. [...] An easy way to prevent this is to plan ahead. Plan your meals, work out your recipes and buy only what you need. Europe is taking a stand on food waste. In fact, Parliament recently called upon the European Commission to take measures in order to cut food waste …. [...]

  2. [...] On another avenue, political awareness can change policies and simplify consumers’ lives, for example by simplifying labelling regulations. Just recently, the issue inspired an opinion of the European Social and Economic Committee: “Food waste prevention and reduction are important aspects in the wider context of food security and resource efficiency. … The proposed own-initiative opinion should give impetus to draw up at the European level a coordinated strategy, combining EU-wide and national measures, to improve the efficiency of food supply and consumption chains and to tackle food wastage as a matter of urgency.”  The EU has set itself the goal of halving its food waste by 2025! In addition, it is disseminating information, selecting best practice examples (great resource for anything from campaigns to research!), and declared a European Year Against Waste in 2014.  [...]

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