Spain committed in 2015 to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which include a global target to halve food loss and waste by 2030. In May of this year, the Bill for the Prevention of Food Losses and Food Waste was approved in the plenary session of the Congress of Deputies, without any votes against it. With this, it passed through the Senate, marking a milestone as the first law at the national level to address the worrying figures of food waste in our country.
Food waste: a worrisome situation
Every year, almost 59 million tons of food are wasted (131 kg/inhabitant) in the European Union, of which 7.7 million tons are wasted in Spain.
However, the early elections and the dissolution of the Cortes have slowed down the parliamentary processing of this much-needed law, and final approval is pending.
From an environmental point of view, food waste contributes to the squandering of natural resources and accounts for approximately 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The company Phenix, which has been fighting against food waste since 2014, assures that “we have calculated that FMCG companies, whether distributors or manufacturers, can save up to 2% of their costs each year because of this problem and can valorize up to 100% of their surpluses”.
The advantage is that most of these companies had not stopped to think about what waste actually cost them. They have realized that by optimizing their products and properly managing their surplus, they can reduce their costs and help people in vulnerable situations.
What can we do to avoid this?
More than half of food waste (53%) is generated by households, followed by the processing and manufacturing sector (20%).
The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) offers some tips to prevent food from ending up in the trash of Spanish households:
- Check the refrigerator and pantry before making the shopping list.
- Plan meals for the next few days.
- Place recently purchased products at the back and those that have been in front for the longest time.
- Avoid buying food on impulse or to take advantage of 3×2 offers.
- Do not open the containers until you are sure that they are going to be consumed.
- Attention to households where there are children, many members and they buy prepared food: this is usually the profile of the household where most is wasted.
In short, combating food waste is a triple victory: On the one hand, it saves food for human consumption and thus contributes to food security. On the other hand, it helps companies and consumers save money and reduce the environmental impact of food production and consumption.
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