Don’t throw that away

Love food – hate waste?

You love the sight of your bulging fridge and you are spoilt for choice what to eat. 
But in the end you waste the food because you think you will die if you eat food which exceeds the expiry date. Fact is, every person in Germany throws away about 100 kg of food per year. And European households throw away euros worth of food each year.

You are used to the luxury that there is plenty of everything when you go grocery shopping in a supermarket with shelves filled to capacity – and you are beating your brains out about which potatoes you buy because you want the most perfect ones. 
But you have never seen the place where supermarkets throw away the food and the dimension of the food landing in the waste.

You think cucumbers grow straight only.
But it’s just because so many cucumbers which are bent will be already sorted out into trash when harvesting because there are EU regulations for the degree of the bending which is allowed. You don’t need to guess how many more regulations of this kind exist.

f689e1a169What is the effect?

The European Union has already reacted – they have funded a project called FUSIONS (Food Use Social Innovations by Optimising Waste Strategies) and their goal is to reduce food waste in Europe by 50 percent for the year 2025.

The head of the FUSIONS project, the Dutch Toine Timmermans says following: “25 to 30 percent of products made for consuption end up getting lost st some point in the supply chain”. That is why he wants to inform consumers and provide reliable data, which do not exist yet, to politicians and businesses. 

There is much work to do in order to reduce the waste if food in the supply chain but the director of Germany’s Federation of Food and Drink Industries (BVE), Peter Feller, is convinced that western countries waste so much food for the reason that food is simply too cheap: “Consumers wouldn’t throw away as much food as they do if it cost more. Of course there are many reasons, but the cheapness of food products has certainly contributed to our throw-away culture”

foodwasteWhat can I do?

It starts with your attitude towards food wasting: consumer behaviour has to change and consumers must reduce their food waste.
But it’s not enough – not only households but also retailers and producers have to realize that, too. In order for them to do so, politics has to change. Which in turn means that we have to act.

According to Ana Elsner, an international poet and activist, you can raise awareness about food wasting by asking the store manager of your supermarket where the food products which are pulled off the shelves are going. And then ask if they are willing to consider donating their discarded groceries to food banks. There will be no changes immediately but if this is done widely, management will have to pay attention and face customers feedback.

Participate in foodsharing! It is a brilliant, very young project where persons can offer food which they will not consume to an internet platform. Another person on the platform reads about the offer and picks it up for free! You can check out their webpage here. The more people know about it and use it, the better it gets!

Please take your time of a couple of minutes for this trailer or even better watch the whole movie! – it is called “Tase the waste”.