The European Commission has food waste on their radar, but their actions have been a bit difficult to read. Officially, the Commission is cracking down on food waste by promoting action through its Member States. In 2011, the European Commission identified in the “Roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe” that food was a key sector where resource efficiency should be improved, and sounded the call-to-arms on food waste.
In 2014, the Commission put forward objectives for food waste reduction in the EU including a proposal for Member States to create strategies with a target of food waste reduction by at least 30% by 2025 across sectors. European Parliament also declared 2014 the “year against food waste.” Despite these moves, critics like Belgian MEP Bart Staes (see his article here) argued that the Commission had switched gears and was dragging its feet in creating solid policy.
The biggest evidence of this change in pace with the Commission is that the promised publication, “Building a Sustainable European Food System,” which was supposed to be released by early 2014 at the latest, remains unpublished despite non-profits (such as WWF) and a wide range of actors demanding its release.
In most recent developments, however, the European Commission has said that it is seeking to take a broader approach, and therefore released a public consultation on May 28 running until August 20 on its revised Circular Economy Package. This new package moves away from an “exclusive focus on waste management.” The new document does retain the goal that member states cut food waste by 30% by 2025, but broadens the focus from just food waste – which is good, so long as this doesn’t mean more cumbersome progress in creating policy by burying it among other connected issues. Eventually this package will involve a revised legislative proposal on waste and the creation of an action plan on the circular economy.
The consultation document is available here and the Roadmap for the initiative here.
For more information on the European Commission’s food waste initiatives and the Circular Economy Package: