Members of European Parliament are in favour of cutting food waste across member states by committing to significant targets to halve current levels by 2030.
Environment Committee MEPs met yesterday (January 24) to discuss proposals to slash the estimated 89 million tonnes, or 180 kg per capita per year, of food that is thrown away by 50% in the next 13 years.
But the first target is to reach a 30% reduction by 2025.
MEPs are considering a Draft Report which could come into law, although the latest vote only approves the proposals of how to cut food waste and the specific targets to be set.
“The very next step is for the draft report to be be put to the vote in the Environment committee on the 10/11 April, and in plenary during the 15-18 May session, an EU spokesperson tells PBUK.
“Following negotiations, they will agree on a common text and it will be this version that will come into law. The negotiations usually take a few months so there is still some time to go.”
Estimates show that 88 million tonnes of food are wasted in the EU each year. The production and disposal of EU food waste leads to the emission of 170 million tonnes of CO2 and consumes 261 million tonnes of resources. The costs associated with this level of food waste are estimated to amount to around €143 billion (£122 billion)
Meanwhile the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO) estimates that each year, approximately one-third, by weight, of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted.
The EU’s Draft Report contains a package of measures aimed at reducing food waste and calls for legislation surrounding how unsold food will be managed.
MEPs are urging the Commission to propose a change in the VAT Directive that authorise tax exemptions of food donations and calls on member states to create economic incentives for limiting food waste.
“Innovative and environmentally friendly solutions in areas including the management of co- and by-products of food production, food storage, digital technologies, and packaging can offer significant potential for food waste reduction,” it says.
According to UK-based campaign group, This is Rubbish, if passed the policy could enter UK law before Brexit and would be difficult to reverse.
Meanwhile, a UK parliamentary committee is conducting a review of food waste, which has just taken evidence from retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons.
“In the UK, approximately 8 million tonnes of food is wasted post-manufacture, including households, retail and wholesale and hospitality/food sector- 60% of this could have been avoided. This has an annual value of approximately £16 billion a year,” says a written scope of the UK review.
“Although food waste occurs at all stages of the supply chain (and some food waste is avoidable), 85% of food waste post-manufacture comes from our homes. Research shows that the average family (i.e. a household containing children) spends £700 a year on food that is wasted.”