In a recent post (The Zero Waste Lifestyle) we began a series of posts which focus on a growing problem and the innovative ways in which it is being addressed. Every year millions and millions of tonnes of high quality food is simply thrown away. In light of the environmental degradation of the planet, food security, access to water, and dwindling resources… this is a massive issue. (See also our related post on Re-inventing Agriculture)
The Federal German Government has launched an initiative in order to address this problem. Entitled “Zu Gut für die Tonne” (Too Good for the Bin) it is a major initiative being run by the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL). Needless to say, the aim is to reduce food waste!
In Germany, approximately one out of eight food items bought is thrown away. This is equal to 82 kilos of food per person per year, according to a University of Stuttgart study. Private households throw away about 6.7 million tons of food per year and much of this is preventable.
While there are wider and more significant costs to the environment associated with this food waste, in purely individual terms, each person throws away an average of 230 euros worth of food per year.
No food seems to be safe from ending up in the bin. This applies especially to fruits and vegetables. All products which are important for a healthy diet, but which unfortunately turn quickly unsightly when not stored adequately; most frequently end up in the bin such as withered salad, shrivelled carrots or apples with bruises. But… all foods are being discarded, inlcuding baked goods, simple leftovers, dairy products, beverages and meat and fish.
Watch the video (its in German, but the graphic are self explanatory!)
Much of the food waste is doubly bad for the environment, however, as we buy portions which are too large, we don’t check ‘use-by dates’, we don’t re-use leftovers. All this is double expensive for us and for the environment. We invest water and raw materials for the production of food, and waste even more energy for their destruction.
The website of the initiative offers background information and useful tips for everyday life. These show how we can better buy, store and eat food. There are also ideas from celebrity chefs and celebrities, as well as an interactive test to find out how to best reduce your food waste. There is also an app which provides cooking ideas for preparing a meal from leftovers.
Around 78 percent of Germans have consciously attempted to avoid producing food waste in recent months or intend to do so. This is the result of a recent survey conducted by the Consumer Research Association GfK on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. According to the survey, 58 percent of respondents want to base their shopping decisions on conscious, well-informed information, 46 percent want to use more leftover food and 36 percent want to pay greater attention to correct storage.
Here is the website of the campaign (German only)
Photo credit: “www.colourbox.com”. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL).