Yesterday the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety voted in favor of regulations that require all member states to halve food waste by 2030. However, lawmakers stopped short of making the target binding.
The 50 percent target was introduced as an amendment to the European Commission’s “Circular Economy Package”, a new legal framework to foster sustainable growth due to be enforced later this year. To become law it has to receive the final go-ahead by the EU Parliament both in a plenary session and from European environment ministers.
The amendment was a step in the right direction but didn’t go far enough. 43 European organizations, among them Slow Food, had reached out to decision makers with a petition supported by nearly 30 thousand people. The key messages: establish a binding target to cut EU food waste by 50% by 2030, from farm to fork, and prioritize food waste reduction.
While this 50 percent target has been introduced, it is not legally binding. We need to continue putting pressure on decision makers and ask that the target be made obligatory, to ensure we really start making progress on cutting the obscene amount of food waste.
As our position paper on food losses and food waste reports, around a third of all the food we produce does not end up on our plates, and in Europe this adds up to 179 kilos of food a year per person, at a high cost: ecological, economic and ethical.
Some countries have already taken measures to combat food waste individually, most famously France and Italy. But without a coordinated effort by the European Union, we cannot hope to seriously tackle the problem.
In the meantime, we as citizens can all make a small difference in our daily lives by reducing our own household food waste: by buying directly from producers where possible (who create less waste than supermarkets), choosing local, seasonal products farmed responsibly, planning our grocery shopping smartly, eating our leftovers and indeed, if we have food that we won’t eat, giving it to someone who needs it!
Read the Slow Food position paper on food losses and food waste here.