With one-third of all food produced for human consumption being wasted each year, it's clear that action needs to be taken. Not only does food waste have negative environmental impacts, but it also has social and economic consequences. So, what can be done about it?
Let's start by answering the question – what is “Food Waste?”. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) states –
“Food waste refers to the discard of edible foods at the retail and consumer levels, mostly in developed countries*.”
This can be any edible product or by-product that is intended for human consumption but is discarded or expired; this can come from a wide variety of sources, such as:
- Prepared, perfectly edible food that has not been eaten.
- Unsold food from local markets or other retail outlets such as produce food.
- Plate waste from restaurants.
- Trimmings like food scraps from food preparation in restaurants, cafeterias, or homes; and by-products of food and beverage processing.
- By-products of industrial food/beverage processing.
What is the impact of food waste?
Food waste causes substantial global economic, social and, of course, environmental ramifications.
Looking at the economics; it’s estimated that food waste costs the global economy $936 billion each year*. Socially, the majority of wastage occurs in developed countries where the impact is less noticeable with approximately 25% of all available food calories lost due to global food waste; heavily impacting developing and low-income countries where billions of people struggle to access enough food*.
It is estimated that around one-third (1.6 billion tons) of all produced food is lost or wasted globally each year*.
Though, the most damaging effects are most prominent through the enormous environmental consequences. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Food Waste Index 2021, food waste accounts for 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions*, a consequence of the damaging effects provided by landfill. Unfortunately, without efficient disposal methods, a large percentage of food waste will find its way into landfill. In landfills, food of course rots and, one of the major by-products of rotting food in landfills is the production of methane – a harmful greenhouse gas that's 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide and heats the atmosphere 80 times faster.*
What is being done?
So, with such environmental consequences on the line, what is the world doing about it and, more importantly, how is Ireland reacting to it?
One of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals is to halve global food waste and reduce food losses in production and supply by 2030*. It aims to do this through cooperation and global partnerships between multiple agencies and across a broad range of areas*.
The European Union is introducing the Farm2Fork strategy aimed at making food production and consumption more sustainable. They plan to do this by proposing legally binding targets to reduce food waste across EU countries and integrating food waste prevention directives into existing EU policy with the intention of reducing per capita food waste by 50% by 2030.
A Look at Ireland
Estimates from 2020 state that Ireland wastes around 80,000 tonnes of food per year, with households being the biggest producers of the waste: accounting for 31% of the total amount. Because of this, Ireland is committed to reducing its food waste by 50% by 2030 within its Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The Government of Ireland has released Ireland’s National Food Waste Prevention Roadmap (2023 – 2025), which outlines steps on how the country can dramatically cut down on food waste by the year 2030.
Section 11 of the roadmap updates rules on food waste segregation, highlighting the introduction of mandatory household kerbside collection services to be provided with an organic waste bin. Whilst the country already has measures in place to dispose of segregated organic waste through its brown bin collection service, as of January 1st, 2024, this service will now be mandatory for all households, including apartments.*
This is where we fit in...
As the government rolls out mandatory organic waste bins outside the homes of millions of Irish citizens, a method of collecting the waste inside the household will be required. Food waste can be a messy, unsanitary and unpleasant business to deal with, but we’re here to help.
Glasdon has solutions for collecting food waste in almost any size, for any environment, internally and externally. Our purposely designed catering & food waste containers are designed for multiple areas of the food industry; from commercial restaurants to food courts but can be effortlessly introduced to any working environment to capture food waste solely and effectively.
Glasdon Food Waste Containers
Notable Design Features –
- Aperture flaps to lock in and contain odours.
- Lid-operated foot pedals to improve hygienic disposal.
- Large apertures to guide waste.
- Recognisable decals to make them easily identifiable.
- Durable materials to ensure long service life.
Our products can be used in a variety of environments - both for residential and commercial settings. For example, the Nexus® Stack can be used in the workplace or in homes to separate food waste from other waste streams like the food packaging. Products such as Nexus® Shuttle are ideal for food preparation areas like kitchens, Nexus® Evolution can be fitted with a food waste partition to segment waste streams for areas like cafeterias, and products like the Nexus® City Wheelie Bin Housings can be used as larger food waste collection points outside.
As you can see, our food waste bins are more than suitable for the task at hand and able to meet the demands of targets set by the EU and the Irish government, either as an internal, or external solution.
If you would like to learn more about how Glasdon can help with your waste management scheme, please talk to us today.