The Stop Food Waste Challenge has been designed and developed by a team of independent facilitators in collaboration with the Stop Food Waste Campaign. The campaign is funded by the EPA and has been in operation since 2009. The programme was developed in response to a request from Environmental Awareness officers who wanted a food waste prevention programme that could be delivered in conjunction with the introduction of the brown bin food waste collection service. This was considered important in order to emphasise that whilst the brown bin was essential to divert food waste from landfill its introduction was not facilitating or encouraging food waste reduction. The programme has been delivered approximately 70 times in 12 counties.
Why it Matters
In Ireland we waste up to 1/4 of all the food that is purchased at a cost of between €400-€1000 per household per year. This totals to 300,000 tonnes of food going to waste from Irish homes, which is 80kg of wasted food per person. Despite the introduction of the brown bin much of this food waste still ends up in landfill where it causes additional local environmental problems.
Scaling this up and looking at the problem globally:
• If food waste were a country it would be the 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gases (After America and China)
• Each year 1.4 billion hectares of land, or 200 times the land mass of Ireland, is used to produce food that is then lost or wasted. And all this while 1 in 10 Irish people suffer from food poverty
• Each year over 100 times the water that flows through the river Shannon is used to produce food that is ultimately wasted
• As a result of all this, the economic losses associated with food loss, excluding seafood, are estimated to reach €550 billion a year globally. And this at a time when the global population is getting ever bigger and putting a huge strain on existing food supplies