This evening at the European Parliament, MEPs debated an initiative report on reducing food waste and improving food safety as a follow-up to the Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan.
Food waste is estimated at 88 million tonnes across the EU, the equivalent of about 173 kg per capita every year. The proposals call for EU-wide food waste reduction targets to be met by 2025 and 2030 and other practical measures such as support for ‘foodsharing’.
GUE/NGL MEP Merja Kyllönen supported the proposals for a common EU approach to food waste:
”We need a common level playing field to determine how member states should address the food waste problem. The EU can find a common understanding of food reduction needs and forge a common path forward.”
“There should be means available to transfer food from contexts where there is excess to places in need but it is obvious that the issue of waste won’t be solved by that alone. It is essential that we look at the root causes of food waste in our societies.”
Meanwhile, Czech MEP Kateřina Konečná called attention to the emissions that result from food waste:
“Food waste is reaching alarming levels in the EU. The production and disposal of food waste leads to the emission of an estimated 170 million tonnes of CO2.”
“All the while there is pressure to reduce emissions. We need to make adjustments to the way we approach energy efficiency to prevent environmental damage.”
Konečná highlighted the need to restrain irresponsible consumerism in Europe:
“We are in a situation where our demand is creating devastation in other parts of the world, such as the deforestation caused by demand for palm oil, only for part of it to go to waste. The situation is scandalous.”
Basque MEP Josu Juaristi urged the adoption of a systemic approach to food waste reduction:
“The Parliament’s proposal for the circular economy package is a step in the right direction but is not enough. We need binding targets to reduce food waste, not mere aspirations.”
“We must pay attention to all stages of the value chain, from production to consumption, through to distribution. We have to move towards a sustainable and coherent form of production and consumption, linked to needs and not to the interests of the markets.”
“It is also vital to consider the losses in agriculture and for this, we must move away from the quota system, which is geared towards producing surpluses that are eventually discarded as waste,” concluded Juaristi.
GUE/NGL MEPs Estefania Torres, Stefan Eck and Ángela Vallina also spoke in this debate. A video of their interventions can be found here.