An EU-wide campaign to reduce food waste has proven successful today (14 March), as Members of the European Parliament (MEP) voted in support of a 50% reduction by 2030.
While 55 million Europeans still live in food poverty, around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted each year in the EU.
The four newly voted waste-management directives represent an attempt to improve this situation by increasing the share of recyclable waste from 44% today to 70% in 2030, that of food waste to 50% and by limiting landfilling to 5%. Targets include recycling 80% of packaging waste, mandatory separate collection for main waste streams and an increased use of economic instruments such as deposit-return-schemes.
Despite the good intentions of the new legislation, critics regret its focus on waste accumulated in households and small firms which only accounts for 8% of all waste. Furthermore, Martin Bowman, the leader of the campaign stresses that the only way to face the current "urgent challenges of climate change, land and water depletion, and food poverty" are legally binding targets that would have to be adopted by the Commission.
Still, the MEPs' vote can be seen as a first step towards creating a circular economy "where products are designed to last and can be repaired, reused, rcycled, and remanufactured", Simone Bonafè, the author of the directives, emphasizes.