Picture by InteliusInc, creative commons

About 90 million tonnes of food is wasted annually in Europe - agricultural food waste and fish discards not included. Food is wasted throughout the whole food chain – from farmers to consumers – and for various reasons which include:

  • Lack of awareness, lack of shopping planning, confusion about "best before" and" use by" date labels, lack of knowledge on how to cook with leftovers (households).
  • Standard portion sizes, difficulty to anticipate the number of clients (catering);
  • Stock management inefficiencies, marketing strategies (2 for 1, buy 1 get 1 free), aesthetic issues (retail);
  • Overproduction, product & packaging damage (farmers and food manufacturing).

This is happening at a time when Europe is also experiencing a food crisis among its populations. In response, a wide range of initiatives on food waste reduction has been launched at national, regional and local level across the continent. Below are just a few examples.

Examples

Designing your dream – ReMix Project

Author: Joël Obrecht - Published At: 2013-11-25 10:13 -

The Remix Project, dedicated to social and sustainable design, started three years ago in Lisbon. Every year the project has managed to win support of the municipal Vip- Zip program, aimed at neighborhoods priority intervention. Last year to increase the sustainability, the ReMix has introduced a service that relies on the provision of services to employees recruited from among the inhabitants of the district. When ReMix started, the team received more than 300 applicants, of which they have to choose just five. One of the selected is Antonio Paolo. Since then he became constant part of the team. The coordinator of the ReMix project is Angelo Campota, who recruited the team, among hundreds of nominations.

Projecto Fruta Feia

Author: Claudia Coimbra - Published At: 2013-08-26 14:11 -

Projecto Fruta Feia ("Ugly Fruit") aims to minimise the social and environmental impact of food waste. The idea is to channel all rejected fruit and vegetable products to consumers that do not judge the quality of the product solely on appearances.

Caxias Social Association - social solutions

Author: Anne-Iris Romens - Published At: 2013-08-05 08:58 -

The Caxias Social Association aims to help families in need, solving social problems in households experiencing difficulties and/or with limited sustainability.

DariAcordar, the anti-waste association

Author: Anne-Iris Romens - Published At: 2013-08-05 08:19 -

A non-profit and volunteer membership organisation, dedicated to prevent all types of wasting, with the fight against food waste as its most important and pressing goal.

Mπορούμε "Boroume"

Author: Mariani - Published At: 2013-08-02 12:12 -

A non-profit organisation fighting against the waste of leftover food by aiding the recovery and redistribution of food surplus to those in need throughout Greece.

Reclaim, Refresh, Rejuce

Author: Lorna Muddiman - Published At: 2013-06-10 14:22 -
Consumption

Rejuce: redirecting food surpluses from local markets/supermarkets and transforming it into healthy socio/enviro/eco friendly soups and smoothies.

FoodCycle

Author: Lorna Muddiman - Published At: 2013-05-24 15:57 -
Consumption

FoodCycle combines volunteers, surplus food and a free kitchen space to create nutritious meals for people affected by food poverty in th UK and positive social change in the community.

Foodsharing.de

Author: Lorna Muddiman - Published At: 2013-05-24 14:09 -
Consumption

Foodsharing is a new eco-friendly platform dedicated to reducing the wastage of food in Germany.

C.R.E.A. Solidarity fighting waste

Author: alessandra sciurba - Published At: 2013-04-16 08:42 -

The project C.R.E.A. (Surplus Food Recovery Centre) aims to collect surplus food (i.e. goods that cannot be sold but that are still consumable), both fresh and packaged, from the small, medium and large retailers, for their redistribution to people living in conditions of poverty and social exclusion. The main actors involved in its organisation are people who live in the Community of St. Benedetto al Porto, who through this work implement their emancipation and autonomy. The project is partly implemented and partly remains to be implemented.

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Links and other sources

  • List of Food waste facts. All statistics are fully referenced in Tristram Stuart, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal (Penguin, 2009).
  • Go here for a list of good practices in the arena of food redistribution.
  • UK Gleaning Network is a worthy initiative that seeks to save the thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted on UK farms every year.
  • "Food Not Bombs" is a global movement that recovers food items, upon agreement from grocery stores, bakeries, and produce markets, that can't be sold and would otherwise go to waste. In turn, it uses the food collected to prepare meals to share in public places with anyone who wishes to partake.
  • The Banquets is a community fundraising collaboration between a collective of East London social enterprises, Rejuce, The Peoples Kitchen, The Koyaanisqatsi Trust, and The Luna Cooperative: "From plough to plate 20 million tonnes of food is wasted each year in the UK. Our Banquets salvage surplus food from the restaurants and markets of east London, funnelling the waste product of a destructive economy, to re-imagining our collective potential and co-create abundance".