Representatives of local and regional authorities call for an end to food waste

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Source: Committee of the Regions

Brussels — The European Committee of the Regions has once again called on the European Commission to set more specific targets on food waste with a view to achieving a 30 per cent reduction by 2025. „Meeting the target does not require any specific financial support or budget, because reducing waste saves money and nature at the same time“, underlined Ossi Martikainen, a member of Lapinlahti municipal council and rapporteur for the opinion on food waste, at the 8th meeting of the European Committee of the Regions’ Commission for Natural Resources, held in Innsbruck on 10th of May.

In the past few years the issue of food waste has attracted a great deal of attention from the public, businesses and NGOs in the Member States and at EU level. It is estimated that one third of the food produced globally is either lost or wasted, equivalent to the food produced on 28 per cent of the world’s arable land. This waste entails huge economic and environmental costs and devalues agriculture and food production. The European Commission included the issue of food waste in its Circular Economy Package.

Regions and cities play a pivotal role by designing effective food waste prevention programmes, raising awareness and implementing practical initiatives on the ground. „Reducing food waste at all levels of the process is one of the most efficient and effective methods that local and regional authorities can deploy, swiftly and directly, to achieve ecologically and economically sustainable development. There are a variety of means and innovative local initiatives for achieving the goal, already advocated by the Committee of the Regions, of reducing food waste by 30 per cent at EU level“, emphasised Ossi Martikainen.

In this draft opinion, local and regional representatives present their recommendations as to how local and regional authorities can contribute to the reduction of food waste:

  • Public procurement rules could contain clauses aimed at reducing and preventing food waste;
  • Local, regional and seasonal products should be used for catering services;
  • School education should include the issue of food waste reduction as part of the curriculum, for instance through theme days, study visits and students learning programmes;
  • The reduction and prevention of food waste could also be included in lifelong learning programmes.

Raising awareness and implementing practical initiatives on the ground will help bring about the cultural and economic change needed to reduce and eliminate food waste.

Source: Committee of the Regions