February 21, 2019

Organic waste management

The CEE Member States now face the same obligations as their western counterparts in terms of waste management

The CEE Member States now face the same obligations as their western counterparts in terms of waste management[1], but are much further behind in meeting these targets[2]. The neighbouring countries that aren’t part of the EU are lagging even more. These states are required to meet legal targets for the diversion of particular waste streams from landfill, especially the biomass. This raises the question of food waste, where the CEE countries rank high regarding the quantity of food/income ratio that gets thrown at the landfill.

Food waste has important economic, environmental and social implications. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that every year in industrialized countries are wasted around 222 tones of food.[3] The global carbon footprint of wasted food was estimated as more than double the total greenhouse emissions of all road transportation in the US in 2010.[4] Considering the population’s rapid increase over the next decades, food waste will become an even more pressing problem. The combination of all these factors led us to address these issues.

In the EU we are wasting around 20% of the total amount of food that’s being produced.[5] The European Parliament has repeatedly called for EU and national measures to improve the efficiency of food supply and consumption chains, sector by sector and to tackle food waste as a matter of urgency. The problem is critical in the CEE countries, since their citizens spend between 25% up to 40% of their income on food and beverages.[6] In Romania, half its citizens spend 40% of their income on food and a third of that ends in the landfill.

The first step into reducing food waste is buying in smaller quantities. But still, there are organic leftovers from the cooking process, such as peels for example. Composting is an efficient method to divert organic waste from landfill. But in order to do this correctly, you should avoid by all means collecting the organic waste in a plastic bag. The best option would be either compostable bags, either paper. Still, many people find paper complicated to use, because the organic waste usually has a high degree of moisture, thus making the paper imposible to use. Using compostable bags is an efficient way to collect food leftovers in order to send them to composting.

Truly compostable bags have enormous potential, especially in separate food waste collection schemes and will become progressively more widespread as the demand for sustainable solutions increases.  Maintaining and improving both efficiency and quality is key to the entire biological resource industry, using bags certified to EN13432 will help reach both these goals.

[1]EU action plan for the Circular Economy

[2]Municipal Waste Management Across European Countries – European Environment Agency, 2016

[3]Global food losses and food waste, the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology, 2011, a report for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN

[4]Food wastage footprint, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, 2013

[5]Reducing food waste – European Comission Fact Sheet, 2016

[6]Household Consumption by Purpose – Eurostat, November 2017

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