The Irish Minister for the Environment has warned that a huge improvement is required in efforts to reduce food waste if Ireland is to meet its 2030 target to halve the €700 annual cost to households.
Richard Bruton is reviewing the data on current efforts to cut waste “at different points in the food chain” and his department plans to increase recycling by encouraging more homes and businesses to use brown bins.
The department also aims to strengthen public awareness and is looking at the role of schools, which “are an important channel to promote improved practices”.
Mr Bruton pointed to the global figure that an estimated a third of all food produced is wasted each year, equivalent in Ireland to nearly one million tonnes and 90 million tonnes in the EU. One third of that waste is in retail and catering, a smaller share is consumer waste and a “somewhat larger share by producers”, Mr Bruton said.
“Supermarkets are directly responsible for the disposal of only 2 per cent of food waste, but their influence across the supply chain makes them central actors” to combat this problem.
Speaking in the Dáil this week, Mr Bruton highlighted the participation of a number of chain stores in the department’s “action group” on the issue. Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, Musgrave and BWG (Spar, Eurospar, Mace, Londis and XL stores) signed up to a charter of commitments on food waste and support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Stop Food Waste campaign, as well as collecting and sharing food waste data.
They have also signed up to the FoodCloud (STET) donation network, a company that links retailers holding excess food with charities.