Saturday, May 13, 2017

Food for thought ... as you fill your bin

Irish consumers are high on the list of food wasters according to figures compiled by the EU, writes Brian Byrne.

In a scenario where the average annual food waste figure per person in the EU is 173kg, Irish people dump 216kg, and we’re seventh from the top of a league of 27 countries.

Netherlands is at the top of that ladder with 541kg per person, and Slovenia is the least wasteful with 72kg per person.

In all, some 88m tonnes of food are wasted in the EU every year. Food is lost and wasted along the whole supply chain from farms to processing and manufacturing to shops, restaurants and at home. But most of the food in the EU is wasted by households with 53pc and processing with 19pc.

Food waste also contributes to climate change. According to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), food waste has a global carbon footprint of about 8pc of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans. For every kilo of food produced, 4.5kg of CO2 are released into the atmosphere.

At the same time, about 793m people in the world are malnourished. According to Eurostat, 55 million people (9.6% of the EU's population), were unable to afford a quality meal every second day in 2014.

On Monday 15 May, MEPs will debate a report by Croatian S&D member Biljana Borzan, which proposes a set of measures to reduce food waste in the EU by 50pc by 2030, an objective set out in a waste legislation package adopted by the Parliament in March.

Six things you could do to minimise food waste

Compile shopping lists

Check the dates and be aware of the meaning of date labelling

Store food in accordance with the instructions on the packaging

Put new food at the back of your fridge and cupboards

Use up leftovers