SustainabilityFood waste of 11 million tons per year in Germany

Today, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) presented a new report on food waste in Germany for the year 2020. According to the report, food waste amounted to eleven million tons in 2020. At 59 percent, private households account for the majority of this waste including edible food and organic residues such as peels, leaves, bones or coffee grounds. The report was commissioned by the BMUV and the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) and has been prepared by the German Federal Statistical Office in collaboration with several research institutes, and closely supported by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).

These are further details:

  • Private households accounted for 59 percent of the total 11 million tons of food waste in 2020, with still edible food as well as organic leftovers such as peels, leaves, bones or coffee grounds ending up in the trash.
  • Restaurants, communal and general catering accounted for a further 17 percent of food waste, followed by 15 percent from food processing and seven percent from retail.
  • Agriculture generated around two percent of waste in the form of surplus and spoiled food, which, according to a study by the Thünen Institute, is generally not disposed of as waste but recycled.

With this report, the German government complies with the EU Waste Framework Directive to make progress in making food waste reduction visible and to carry out a corresponding thorough measurement at least every four years.

Steffi Lemke, German Federal Minister for the Environment, commented: "Food that ends up as waste is a serious problem. The production of food that is later not consumed after all uses up immense areas of arable land worldwide and wastes valuable resources. As the German government, we have therefore set out to halve food waste in Germany by 2030. Consumers, too, often have it in their hands to reduce food waste. Conscious food handling is good for the environment."

Source: BMUV

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