Ministers within the European Parliament yesterday backed new proposals for binding EU waste reduction targets of 50 per cent.
The targets, which are set for 2030, are part of a report approved by the EU’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
The measures would serve to cut the 88 million tonnes of food waste currently generated in the EU every year. This equates to 173kg per capita per year and leads to emissions totalling 170 million tonnes of CO2 and consumes 261 million tonnes of resources.
MEP Biljana Borzan, who presented the report to the committee, said:
We should address the shortcomings of existing EU legislation where it hinders food donations. We need to update our common VAT system to allow for tax exemptions.
“A form of ‘good Samaritan’ legislation at EU level could lead to greater volumes of food being donated and reduce food that is wasted, without compromising current standards of food safety.”
Continuing, she said:
My report calls for a coordinated policy response on labelling, liability and education, as most consumers do not understand the precise meaning of “best before” and “use by” labelling.”
“In developed countries food is wasted mostly at the end of the chain, at distribution and consumption. Everyone has a responsibility to tackle this problem.”
In 2015 UK households wasted 7.3 million tonnes of food, equating to £13 billion being thrown away at roughly £470 per household.
Unfortunately, around 4.4 million tonnes was found to be avoidable waste that was edible at some point before being thrown away.
The report will be put to a vote sometime next month.