Why Do We Waste Food?

France adopted a law which bans throwing away edible food. The French government and all the rest EU Member States are committed to reducing the quantity of wasted food by 50% until 2025. Other European states will surely follow suit.

Let’s not forget nearly 1 billion of the global population are starving.

Photo: Robert Clark for National Geographic
Photo: Robert Clark for National Geographic

Americans take a top ranking when it comes to food waste—in 2012 they’ve thrown away 36 million tons of food.   This shocking picture was put in the spotlight by a National Geographic’s project whose purpose was to visualize the quantities of food thrown away by an average American family of four over a year—which is… 40% of all the food they’ve bought. The main drivers of the project are photographer Robert Clark, the Waldt family from New Jersey, and author Jenna Turner.

Similarly, the situation in Europe is no better. EU-wide, wasted food amounts to 100 million tons per year. Now, if that doesn’t sound alarming, or just seems too vague and remote, let’s remember there are many people living on the brink of survival.

There are two ways to help overcome this problem—cutting down excesses when shopping, and proper utilization of food thrown away by supermarkets, hotels, and other outlets. While for obvious reasons food wasting in Bulgarian households is not very common, the situation with industrial food waste is different.

What is it really that stands in the way of Bulgarian store chains once they’ve decided to donate non-expired food? Industry sources point out two fundamental reasons.

First, the lack of an independent authority to check and certify that foodstuffs have not expired. Such a body could be established by the non-government sector or by the state, but there absolutely has to be one in place to guarantee that all donated food is edible.

Secondly, discarded products are not VAT taxable, unlike donated goods, which are taxed by the government.

The need for urgent legislative amendments is self-evident. Good practices in this respect already exist, and the sooner we follow these, the better.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn