EU focuses on cutting food waste

Reducing waste is high on the EU’s agenda. In recent years, the EU has made pledges to get tougher on single use plastics, and protecting the environment and creating a greener, more sustainable future is something being pushed for by environmental groups, as well as many consumers.

Ahead of the Finnish Council Presidency’s conference, it’s believed that food waste will be on the new agenda. A number of companies have made commitments to reduce their food waste and the EU plans to deal with the issue by 2030. But there are still barriers to achieving this goal.

The EU has been promoting the idea of a “circular economy”. Officials say this is the “number one priority” in the upcoming European Green deal. A big part of this is tied into the EU’s efforts to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but there are other aspects, including food waste.

The circular economy of food waste has the potential to make a huge impact environmentally and socially. And while the focus has primarily been on plastic recently, the EU creates an estimated 88 million tons of food waste every year, costing an estimated €143 billion.

And with this figure predicted to rise to 126 million tons by next year, there has been a surge in interest in how food waste can be recycled or redistributed. For example, lots of companies have shown interest in donating excess food to charities and others have set targets to reduce waste.

Among others, Kellogg’s has announced ambitious targets to reduce waste by finding others uses for food that would be thrown away. This includes collaborations with other sectors and creating value from waste products, such as its latest initiative with Seven Bro7hers brewery to turn waste grains into beer.

In 2018, the EU changed its waste legislation and called for EU countries to take more action at tackling waste in every stage of the supply chain, and to get better at measuring and reporting levels of waste. It’s hoped that this will make an impact in changing food systems and reducing these figures.

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