Food Waste and the EU’s Plans for a Circular Economy

Out of the 1.3 billion tons of food that gets lost or wasted every year at the global level, around 100 million comes from the European Union.

The European Commission is committed to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN on September 2015.  Among them, there is the will to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030.

As for the rest of the world, reducing food waste in Europe would not only mean lowering the environmental impact, but also saving money.

Tackling food waste is a core element of the EU Commission’s objective to develop a Circular Economy. This concept, opposite to the one of Open-Ended Economy, often criticized for lacking any tendency to recycle, underlines the need to promote long-lasting goods, waste prevention, and renewable energy resources. According to a Circular Economy perspective, our economic systems should work like organisms, processing nutrients that can be fed back into the cycle.

The strategy that the EU Commission will adopt to promote this ambitious plan is described in details in the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy. Particularly, in relation to food waste the Commission will:

  • Develop a common European methodology to measure and monitor food waste;
  • Establish a platform for member states and stakeholders, allowing them to share best practices and evaluate the progress made over time;
  • Take measures to clarify EU legislation related to food donation to food banks, and the usage of unsold food as a resource in animal feed;

To strengthen this action, the EU is also reviewing its laws. To fulfill the aforementioned Action Plan, the European Parliament and the Council have proposed a revised directive on waste, which, among other goals, promotes increasing incentives to producers who put greener products on the market and follow recycling schemes (e.g. for packaging).

In addition to this, due to the key role that the civil society can play in reducing food waste, the EU Commission has made available in different languages some useful communication materials. For example, the guide “10 Tips: What can I do in my daily life to limit food waste?” provides European citizens helpful tips to reduce food waste, save money and protect the environment.

Through all these actions, both at the policy and law level, the EU is showing to be very committed to reducing food waste across the Old Continent.

We at Froodly we have taken up this important challenge as well. Through our innovative mobile application, allowing users to see the discounted products that are getting close to their expiry date around them, we are contributing to fighting food waste in Finland. Head to our website to find out more about Froodly’s Food Rescue App!

Alice Moretti

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