In 2019, with support from the EPA and as part of its work as programme managers of Stop Food Waste, the Clean Technology Centre set up the Food Waste Charter for Ireland and organised the Forum on Food Waste.
The Food Waste Charter is a public commitment by companies and organisations in Ireland to fundamentally change how they think and respond to food waste. The signatories are pledging to take positive actions – through measuring, reducing, and reporting their food waste. For the first three years, companies are asked to commit to the monitoring and tracking of their food waste and report on progress and achievements.
The food services sector in Ireland generates over 250,000 tonnes of food waste each year, with as much as 75% of this being food that could have been eaten. The purchasing costs alone of this wasted food is estimated at over €300 million for the Irish food service sector. Additionally, food waste in business results in considerable cost in terms of resource-use and business overheads.
The Charter is a four step process:
- Pledge your commitment to working together to reduce food waste
- Measure quantity of food waste and associated cost within the business’s current operations
- Identify appropriate interventions and implement one food waste reduction initiative over next 12 months
- Report Individually on progress and achievements
Several resources developed by CTC are made freely available to companies to help them commit to the charter, including factsheets on food waste, water conservation, energy conservation and waste management; a case study and a food waste recording sheet and food waste recording spreadsheet are also made available.
The Third National Forum on Food Waste took place in Radisson Blu St Helen’s Hotel Dublin on 10 July 2019 organised by the Clean Technology Centre.
The Forum brought together business and policy leaders from across the food supply chain. The theme of the event was Measuring What Matters, emphasising the importance of using data to direct effective actions. Ireland generates over 1m tonnes of food waste annually and will need to take a new perspective on the value of food as the country works towards meeting our EU and sustainable development commitments to halve food waste by 2030.
Sarah Broderick of the CTC presented new EPA-funded research, carried out by the Clean Technology Centre, indicating that 250,000 tonnes of food waste are generated annually by commercial food businesses such as restaurants, shops and workplace canteens. The research investigated the volumes, types and associated cost of food waste arisings in these businesses. It found that much of this waste is avoidable and estimates the value of food waste for the Irish hospitality sector alone at over €300M.
During his opening address, Richard Bruton, TD, Minister of Communications, Climate Action & Environment said:
“Over 1 million tonnes of food are wasted every year in Ireland. About 70 per cent of this comes from industry costing Irish business over €2 billion annually. As part of the Climate Action Plan, we have committed to halving food waste by 2030. Delivering on this ambition will require a collaborative effort from government, enterprise, the EPA and pioneers such as Food Cloud who are leading the change in this area. I urge all businesses here today to make a start and sign up to the Food Waste Charter and to use the resources available to drive down their food waste.”
Speaking at the event, Laura Burke, Director General, EPA said,
“It takes a lot of resources to put food on our tables. Growing, processing and transporting food all use large amounts of energy and materials. When food is wasted, these resources are wasted too – which impacts on climate change, our local environment and business costs. To meet this environmental and financial challenge, food businesses need to start measuring the food being discarded, and then take action to reduce avoidable wastage.”
Other presentations at the event were given by the EPA, Zero Waste Scotland, Foodcloud and on an Italian LIFE Environment project called LIFE-Food.Waste.StandUp.