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© WWF Food Practice

How much food do we throw away?

Up to 1/3 of all globally produced food ends up as waste. This way, we don't just waste food, but natural resources needed to produce it as well. We have to stop food waste today!

What does this mean for our natural world? 

We're not just losing food! We're losing land, energy and water used to produce this excess of food. It is believed that up to 70% of biodiversity has been lost due to deforestation and converting natural habitats to farms and arable land.

Up to 50 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables are thrown out in Europe just because of "irregular" shape and all of that costs, unbelievably, 140 billion euros. Food waste causes unbearable pressure to landfills and their decomposition emits harmful chemicals that contribute to climate change.

© Marina Kelava

Billions of tonnes of waste with millions of hungry people!

Food waste is a problem at every step of the supply chain: production, processing, distribution and consumption. Looking at this "from farm to fork", we throw away around 1.3 billion tonnes (700 million euros) annually worldwide, and the EU throws away 88 million tonnes (143 million euros). Countries in our region follow these trends: Croatia throws away around 400.000 tonnes, Slovenia around 140.000 tonnes, and Serbia wastes around 700.000 tonnes of food. Data for other countries is unfortunately unknown.  

Besides being a serious ecological problem, food waste also represents an important social issue: there are currently 850 million obese people, while 795 million go hungry, without enough food for a healthy life, and nine million die of starvation.

Raise your voice: say no to food waste!

We need a functional food donation system that would provide restaurants and stores with an easy way to help those in need. Food donation systems, food banks, policies that enable and follow all this... All of this either doesn't exist or doesn't work well in our region. The voice of the people, however, can and should make a difference. Send a clear message, say NO to food waste!

How to reduce food waste?

As individuals, we can't really impact the entire system "from farm to fork". However, the part from store to the table is definitely in our control. We throw away food for various reasons, but one of the most frequent ones is not reading, or not understanding expiry dates on food labels. Here are some tips on how you can act to reduce food waste:
  • A date does not necessarily mean that the food has expired. "Expiry date" and "Best before date" are not the same thing. Sometimes the food can be usable for ten days after the expiration date - smell it, try it, everything before you throw it away.
  • Before you go to the store, make a list of what you need and don't go on an empty stomach (although it sounds ridiculous, it's true - on an empty stomach you'll buy more of what you don't need). 
  • Be sure to store groceries properly - do not put them hot in the refrigerator and close them properly. 
  • Get creative when cooking! Most "waste" can instead become delicious leftovers or ingredients in another meal. can be used - creativity is the best trait when cooking. Salads and soups are just some of the ways less than perfectly fresh vegetables can be used, and fruit will happily become cake or juice. Save food, AND have fun!
  • When something really becomes waste, compost - if you don’t have that option, maybe a neighbor has. As a last resort, dispose of the waste in a bio-bag and store it properly. Do your research and be mindful when disposing of food waste.
  • The freezer is your friend! Store the excess meal in the freezer, you will preserve its freshness and durability, and it will cheer you up on the day when you will not have time to cook. 


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