On August 12, 2015 the Joint Research Centre (JCR) of the European Commission published its study results on consumer food waste in the European Union. Researchers calculated water and nitrogen footprints associated with avoidable food waste using data from the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Romania. This led to the following estimates:
- EU consumers waste 16% of all food on average, which includes up to 47 million tons (80%) of edible and hence avoidable food waste every year, ranging from 45 to 153 kg per person.
- On average the green water (e.g. rainwater) footprint of avoidable food waste adds up to 294 liters per capita per day, which is the equivalent needed for daily crop production in Spain.
- Cereals, vegetables and fruit are wasted more frequently, since they have a shorter shelf-life and are often over-purchased due to low prices.
- The share of wasted meat is comparatively small, but due to its resource intense production it has the largest avoidable food waste footprint.
The study stresses the importance of reducing food waste and its implications for saving water and resources. Lead scientist, Dr Davy Vanham, explains: “In a world with limited resources, food security can only be achieved by a more sustainable use of resources, along with adaptations to our consumption behavior, including the reduction or, ideally, the eradication of food waste.”
Source: Joint Research Centre of the European Commission