Where we waste

Production

Production

The unusually shaped vegetables is harder to arrange into food boxes. As a result, only the crops with a perfect shape are packed while the unattractive pieces end up composted or as a feed. There are other issues regarding the production phase: problems between producers and sellers who do not often state the exact amount of goods needed and on that account, producers must always have certain amount in stock in order to be able to provide goods when ordered at the last moment. It can also happen that sellers not necessarily accept the complete delivery and the remnants is left with producers. This might completely depreciate the goods with the short shelf life such as dairy products.

Agriculture

Agriculture

The crops are eliminated on the basis of strict qualitative standards regarding weight, size, shape and appearance. These characteristics are regulated by big customers and the European Union. The crops not meeting the criteria are consumed by animals, dumped or plowed under. Market purchase price is so low due to cheap competition from abroad which sometimes make the harvesting disadvantageous. The overproduction is another problem – farmers plant more than needed in order to be always able to deliver the amount of products demanded in particular time. However, they do not sell everything in case the harvest is generous.

Distribution and sale

Distribution and sale

Before being sold, food has to be transported and distributed. Losses might arise when transportation companies exceed the planned delivery time or if they use an unsuitable way of transport (e. g. bad security or cooling systems). It can also happen that goods stay hidden in the storage and expire. Another trouble are the oversupply typical for the seasonal products sold during Christmas or Easter time or damaged packaging which condems the product directly to a rubbish bin.

Restaurant services and catering

Restaurant services and catering

Oversized portions are the cause of wasting food in restaurants. “All you can eat” types of restaurants offering unlimited buffet meals are to be blamed in the first place. Problems can be also caused by a wrong estimation of demand and number of customers. Strict hygiene rules issued by the EU also bring about a very short shelf-life of the products. Among these let´s mention the need of consuming the defrosted products within two hours after opening their packaging.

Households

Households

Wasting food at home is mainly caused by the lack of planning and inappropriate way of storing. People tend to yield to favourable offers like “buy one, get one free”. They also buy food many days in advance without actually consuming it later. It is common to prepare more portions than needed which results in food ending up in the rubbish. However, this spare food can be used for preparing other meals. See our recipes for inspiration.

The consumers often make no distinctions between the terms “use by” and “best before”. “Use by” date stated on the packaging means that before this date, food is guaranteed to be harmless, and once this date passes by it should not be sold anymore. Whereas when the “best before” date passes, food is still harmless and edible, only its qutality may change (in case of some salamis even for the better).