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Every Day, Over a Million Meals are Wasted in Ireland

28th June 2024

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ireland has reported that the country produced approximately 750,000 tonnes of food waste in 2022. Released on June 27th, these figures show a consistent trend in food waste generation over the past three years.

Key Contributors to Food Waste

According to the EPA, the food and beverage sector accounts for 70% of the total food waste, while households contribute the remaining 30%.

David Flynn, director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability, emphasised the significant impact of food waste on Ireland’s resources and economy: “Every day, over a million meals are wasted in Ireland, highlighting the critical need for businesses across the food supply chain to prioritise waste reduction efforts.”

Flynn stressed the importance of adopting the EPA’s Food Waste Charter, which encourages businesses to measure and reduce food waste. He noted, “It is essential to segregate unavoidable food waste for recycling. Waste collectors are required to provide organic waste bins, promoting the implementation of a comprehensive 3-bin waste management system nationwide.”

Economic Implications and Legislative Measures

Warren Phelan, programme manager at the EPA Circular Economy Programme, discussed recent regulatory changes: “Since January 2024, waste collectors must offer food waste collection services to households. Increasing access to organic waste bins is crucial for enhancing food waste segregation and promoting recycling through composting and anaerobic digestion.”

Phelan highlighted the financial burden on households, stating, “Food waste costs the average household approximately €700 annually. Educating consumers about responsible food consumption practices is vital in reducing waste. The EPA’s Stop Food Waste programme provides practical guidance to help households minimise food waste.”

These initiatives reflect Ireland’s commitment to reducing food waste, promoting environmental sustainability, and addressing economic challenges associated with waste management.

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