Irish households must become more active in preventing food waste and managing their food waste appropriately, according to a new campaign run by the three Regional Waste Management Offices.
The campaign, which will run across radio, online and in cinemas, asks householders in Ireland to consider how they can reduce their food waste and to make use of the brown bin which has been phased in across the country on a progressive basis since 2013.
Philippa King, Regional Waste Co-ordinator with the Southern Region Waste Management Office said: “Irish people are throwing away one third of food purchased every week. In fact, the average family wastes €50 every month on unused food. By making some small changes to food waste habits such as writing shopping lists, meal planning, and using leftovers, householders can save money.”
“In addition, the more people using their brown bins for food waste, the less waste there is going to landfill, which is better for public health and the environment. If you do not have a brown bin, you could be entitled to one – the easiest way to find out is to ask your waste collection company,” Ms King added.
The brown bin is ideal for items such as fruit/vegetable peelings, plate leftovers, tea bags/coffee grounds and inedible bread. Some operators also accept light garden waste. Once collected, brown bin material is delivered from homes once a fortnight to a dedicated composting plant where it is specially treated and turned into high quality compost. Ensuring only the right materials go in your brown bin prevents contamination and results in high quality compost for use across Ireland.
Speaking on Thursday at a Forum on Food Waste organised by the EPA, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Dennis Naughten said, “Food waste is a major national and global problem and we have an environmental and moral obligation to tackle this epidemic now.
“According to the World Health Organisation each year an estimated one third of all food produced – 1.3 billion tonnes worth approximately $1 trillion – ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices. This waste continues as one billion people go undernourished and another one billion go hungry,” he added.
The Minister announced a series of measures he is taking to boost Ireland’s response to the problem of wasted food, including setting up an Action Group on Wasted Food in the Supply Chain. The Group brings together the major national retailers to agree actions to reduce food waste.
For more information on Food Waste Reduction, composting and how best to use your Brown Bin see www.srwmo.ie, www.brownbin.ie or local authority websites.