Why wasting food if a bunch of easy solutions already exist?

 Fighting food waste and building a Circular Culture is a societal change that involves all of us in the shift towards a circular model. 1/3 of our food supply is wasted or lost, which is associated with economic, social and environmental costs.

Food waste is just one of the innumerable environmental issues and often appears to be underestimated by people. The reasons it is becoming a huge concern are the economic, social and environmental costs associated with it. From agricultural production to final household consumption, 1/3 of our food supply is wasted or lost. According to the European Commission, 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated in the EU each year with associated costs estimated at €143 billion. Every little household is part of that issue and what deserves a highlight are the already existing solutions for everyone to take action.

Starting with the simplest step, our fridge, freezer or cooking appliances, can track expiration dates, automatically adjust cooling levels to the types of food that are stored with the help of the barcodes on the package. They can even go further and create shopping lists, order groceries and show the inside of the refrigerator or oven via our smartphones, to check the content or track the progress of the meal being prepared. Monitoring how often the refrigerator is opened can give some peace of mind that an ageing family member still living independently, is staying nourished. Keeping track of how often other appliances are used, can inform that this person is moving around the house and is able to perform day-to-day tasks. These features would support the whole family and make their lives a little easier.

Fighting food waste and building a Circular Culture is a societal change that involves all of us in the shift towards a circular model. Denmark already started to take action against food waste in 2016. Now a total of 85% of people in Denmark are reported to have become aware of the problem during past years. Danish households have reduced food waste by an average of 8% per person over the past six years, according to new figures from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. Most of them said that the advantage of saving money and protecting the environment encourages them to reduce food waste.

In February 2016, France became the first country in the world to establish a strong law against food waste. Adopted by both chambers of French Congress, the law strengthens the commitment of public policy makers to reduce by half loss and waste of food by 2025. That required that each supermarket of more than 400 square meters in surface to create a partnership with food charity organisation to donate its unsold products. In those three years this law has increased donations to food aid associations by 22%. Since France took that step, other nations like Finland and Italy went the same path. In Germany the Federal Ministry of food and agriculture started the initiative “Too good for the bin” trying to reach as many consumers and reduce food waste. On their website, they offer useful tips and creative cooking ideas.

As citizens, we can definitely do our bit as well. Meal planning can contribute to reducing food waste, but if our week is unpredictable it may be better to shop more often smaller quantities or foods that can be frozen. For inevitable food waste, such as the inedible parts of vegetable or fruits, you can compost and use them for your garden. At the farmers market, it is easy to plan healthy Instagram-worthy meals for the whole week, #HealthySalad #RoastedVeggies #AvocadoToast. But reality gets in the way, leading to spontaneous invitations, restaurant dates or us being too tired to cook. At the end of the week, you realise you were just able to make just half of the planned meals and throw away the expired ingredients.

Initiatives are popping up every day and leading the fight against waste: Respect Food, Too Good to Go, Stop Wasting Food Movement are only three of the many easy solutions. 

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