Since 2009 The EPA’s Stop Food Waste Programme has been Ireland’s flagship initiative to prevent food waste. The programme was managed by CTC from 2009-2021 and was funded as part of Ireland’s National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP).
The programme works with householders, communities, schools, local authorities (through the Local Authority Prevention Network (LAPN)), Tidy Towns groups, Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) and businesses, providing comprehensive information about the food we waste and how it can be prevented. As there will always be some unavoidable food waste, the programme also provides training and information on home composting.
The programme has successfully raised awareness and developed support tools to prevent food waste and has worked on the basis of a number of pillars:
- Community: Stop Food Waste has been working with local authorities and community based groups since 2009. In that time the programme carried out local training on composting and food waste prevention, attended local festivals and events, gave talks to schools and tidy towns groups and supported communities in the work that they do locally. One major initiative in this regard is the Stop Food Waste Challenge which supports Irish households to reduce their food waste. Another element is Composting Training – composting is an important way to manage organic materials locally. Stop Food Waste also works with Tidy Towns and other community groups or associations to help spread the word about food waste prevention and home or community composting.
- Planning and Shopping: Stop Food Waste provides many resources for households to prevent waste. By making small changes to how we plan, shop and prepare food we can cut our food waste and save money at the same time. There are four main elements to this: Awareness, Planning, Shopping and developing a Seasonal Calendar.
- Storage and Cooking are the next stages in preventing food at home and in the hospitality sector. Stop Food Waste provides much advice on that.
- Composting is a major element of the programme. Composting is a great way to get a final use out of food. It is the natural process of decomposition that turns organic materials like garden waste and vegetable food scraps into a dark, crumbly and earthy smelling material called compost: rich in nutrients and is great for your garden, shrubs or even indoor potted plants. Stop Food Waste has trained many people in composting and set up many local composting hubs and facilities.
- Business: A great deal of food waste occurs in businesses and Stop Food Waste has supported many companies in how to prevent it. The programme has also produced many resources to support businesses including training programmes. One of the main supports is The Food Waste Charter for Ireland was introduced in 2017.
- Resources: Stop Food Waste has produced and distributed many resources for Irish people to reduce their food waste. These are available on the website at: https://stopfoodwaste.ie/resources-download