Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is leading a National Stop Food Waste Week campaign to highlight issues and raise awareness on food waste, from 12-19 June.
Globally, one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption is lost or wasted and every year people in Ireland waste over one million tonnes of food.
The campaign aims to motivate people across Ireland to make real changes in how they use the food they buy.
Laura Burke, director general, EPA said: “It takes a lot of resources to put food on our tables. Growing, processing, transport and storage all use massive amounts of energy and water, along with packaging, fertilisers and machinery.
“This activity generates greenhouses gases which drive climate change, so it is important that we value and carefully use the food we produce.
Reducing food waste contributes to lowering our carbon footprint, and we can achieve this through some surprisingly simple actions
“Many of us would like to take action on climate change, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Reducing food waste contributes to lowering our carbon footprint, and we can achieve this through some surprisingly simple actions.”
Odile Le Bolloch, EPA Stop Food Waste manager, spoke about the National Stop Food Waste Week campaign: “Each day during Stop Food Waste week we will be sharing information and resources to help people to Stop Food Waste at work and at home.
“Our online campaign provides practical tips to help us all reduce waste and make the most of our food. We are also running our new workplace training programme with guidance on tackling food waste both at work and at home.”
For Stop Food Waste week, because the food people buy is not just consumed at home, the EPA is encouraging businesses and employees to target food waste at work.
Stop Food Waste’s top tips to reduce food waste in the workplace
- Have sharing shelves in the canteen and fridge and let everyone know that food left there is fair game.
- Events with catering often produce large amounts of food waste. Try a slight under-order; and share any leftovers with colleagues.
- Store unused food properly for future use, and don’t leave food forgotten in the fridge over the weekend.
The four key steps people can take to Stop Food Waste
- Know your food waste: Make a list of what you throw out over the next week, this will give you a better understanding where your habits produce waste so you know what to target for improvement.
- Planning and Shopping: Smarter shopping ensures that you don’t waste hard-earned money on food that goes in the bin. Plan your meals (including lunches at work), check the cupboards and fridge before you go, and use a shopping list.
- Cooking and Storing: Store food properly to make the most of what you have bought to keep food fresher for longer. The Stop Food Waste ‘A-Z of food’ contains tips and advice on how to store and cook various food types. Using leftovers for lunch not only helps reduce food waste, it will also save you money.
- Bin it better: Use the brown bin (or try home-composting) for the unavoidable food waste you do generate. A recent national study showed that almost 50% of household organic waste is still being disposed of in the “wrong bins”, i.e. recycling or black bin.
To take part in raising awareness, the EPA is inviting businesses around Ireland to sign-up as supporters of Stop Food Waste week and receive posters, daily tips and a chance to win free Stop Food Waste workplace training.
Information about stopping food waste at home can be found at www.stopfoodwaste.ie.