Press Release - The Waste Agency of Catalonia, along with seven other European partners, is involved in the project ECOWASTE4FOOD, which aims to achieve changes in European policies for the reduction and management of food waste.

ECOWASTE4FOOD "Supporting eco-innovation to reduce food waste and promote efficient economy in the consumption of resources" is a four-year Interreg Europe project.

The project led by CIHEAM-IAMM gathers City and Regional authorities from seven countries across Europe: Catalonia, through the Waste Agency of Catalonia (ARC); France (Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur Region); Britain (Devon County Council), Poland (Wielkopolska Region), Italy (City of Ferrara), Greece (Region of Western Macedonia) and Finland (Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia).

The objective is to deal with the recurrent loss of up to 30% of the European agricultural production that is not consumed -not to mention the waste associated with an increasingly unbalanced diet- and also show that food waste can be managed to contribute to an efficient economy respectful with the environment and an adequate use of resources.

The ECOWASTE4DOOD project holds kick-off meetings started from 28th of February to 1st of March in Barcelona. For two years, stakeholders groups will be actively involved in the selection of good practices in each of the participating territories. Once collected, these practices will be gathered in action plan to combat food waste adapted to Regions to be applied between 2019 and 2020.

Francesc Giró, Director for Strategical Planning in the Waste Agency of Catalonia, said in his welcome speech: “Food waste reduction is imperative to recover the value of food in its economic, social and environmental implications. We must also be aware that food remains are not a waste, but a valuable resource.

Samuel Féret, ECOWASTE4FOOD Project Manager at CIHEAM-IAMM, added: “In supporting eco-innovation to reduce food waste, the project ECOWASTE4FOOD will constitute a valuable contribution to the debate on future priorities for European Regional Development Fund to be dealt with in 2019 and beyond 2020.”

35 kilos of wasted food per person per year

In Catalonia, 262,000 tonnes of food are wasted every year, a figure that corresponds to 7% of households purchasing, restaurants and shops, according to the study Diagnosis of food waste in Catalonia, drawn up in 2013 by the University of Barcelona, commissioned by the waste Agency of Catalonia. These 262,000 tonnes represent that each Catalan throws away every year about 35 kilos of food that could be consumed, a figure that equates to throw the food need during 25 days, or feeding more than half a million people. These figures correspond to 6.3% of municipal waste generated in Catalonia.

In economic terms, the loss is 112 euros per inhabitant per year. In Catalonia, the figure is 841 million euros annually. Most of this waste (58%) occurs in homes, followed by supermarkets (16%), hotels (12%), retail trade (9%), catering (4%) and local markets (1%).

Actions to reduce food waste

The Waste Agency of Catalonia is already working with food waste with concrete actions within the PRECAT20 plan of action. In 2016, the agency gave founds to 34 actions to prevent food waste up to 409.015 euros.

The most remarkable action for civil society is the communication campaign SOM GENT DE PROFIT. Launched by the Waste Agency of Catalonia, along with the city of Barcelona, this campaign aims to raise awareness that wasting food means wasting Money and natural resources.