Food waste is one of the main challenges of the 21st century worldwide. It is also a significant economic and environmental problem in Europe and around the world. Our food system remains one of the biggest contributors to climate change, generating significant amounts of solid waste and responsible for around 8% of greenhouse gas emissions. This system represents between 88 and 140 million tonnes of wasted food waste yearly in Europe alone at an estimated cost of 143 billion EUR each year.
At the same time, 55 million EU citizens cannot afford a quality meal every day. To solve both problems for people and the environment, global actors need to identify solutions to reduce food waste and advantage circular food production and consumption solutions.
In Europe, the European Commission places the issue high on its agenda. Reducing food loss and waste is an integral part of the Circular Economy Action Plan strategy. The institution will propose:
- legally binding targets to reduce food waste across the EU by the end of 2023, defined against a baseline for EU food waste levels set following the first EU-wide monitoring of food waste levels
- a revision of EU rules on date marking ("use by" and "best before" dates) by the end of 2022.
The Institute for Research in Circular Economy and Environment “Ernest Lupan” (IRCEM), the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), Innowo and the ECESP organised this #EUCircularTalks event on 26 October at 10:00 CEST. The event was part of a series organised by the Leadership Group on Food waste, food systems, bioeconomy to frame the food waste impact.
Speakers discussed the different implications of food waste and resource efficiency from a macro perspective to study cases and stakeholder engagement.
10:00 - 10:20 Introduction and Opening remarks
- Agnieszka Sznyk, INNOWO
- Udo Hemmerling, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
10:20 - 10:40
10:40 - 11:10 Case studies - Romania
- Tackling the food waste problem from the perspective of Romanian Federation of food bank
Loredana-Andreea Bîrgovan, Institute for Research in Circular Economy and Environment “Ernest Lupan” (IRCEM)
- Quantitative and qualitative descriptors in assessing the population's perception of food waste in Romania
Cornel Bertea Hanganu, Department for Sustainable Development, Romanian Government
- Adopting the principles of the circular economy in the context of food waste - an essential premise for prevention and combatting
Maria Anghel, General Directorate for Food Industry and Trade Policy
- Dieter Brigitta, Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU)
11:20 - 11:30 Stakeholder engagement against food waste
- Nora Brüggemann, Collaborating Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP)
11:30 - 12:00 Q&A session and closing remarks