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International conference ´Food, no Waste!´

 

On 29 September, the first International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste is celebrated. On that day, the generation of food waste will be discussed by the Estonian Food Bank, Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs, Estonian Ministry of the Environment, and many international experts. They will also be talking about solutions on how to redistribute the surplus quality food most effectively.

According to the United Nations, 1/3 of all food intended for human beings is wasted every year. As stated in previous surveys, households generate the most food waste in Estonia. In 2015, an average of 54 kg of food waste was generated per person, of which 36% was wasted food. According to more recent data, waste may have increased even further. At the same time, many people are living in deprived circumstances who do not have the resources to buy food and basic necessities.

In 2019, the Estonian Food Bank redistributed 1.9 million kg of food, of which 1.4 million was rescued food.

"We are pleased that the Estonian Food Bank has been putting its heart and energy together with hundreds of volunteers for more than 10 years to support the people in need," said Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik. "This year, due to the coronavirus, the number of Food Bank's customers has increased by a third every week, which also shows that the number of people in need may continue to increase in the coming months."

According to the Minister, since 2015, the Estonian Food Bank has been a good partner for the Ministry of Social Affairs in purchasing food with the help of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived and distributing it to the people in need. From October 2019, the Food Bank will also distribute donated food received from the same fund’s resources.

The Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Rural Affairs, and the Ministry of Finance are drawing up an action plan to reduce food waste and promote donation. The action plan will be completed by the end of 2020. More than 40 partners have been involved in drawing up and discussing the plan.

Although the redistribution of surplus food is a growing trend and food producers and retailers are willing to donate the surplus to charities, the amount of food redistributed still only forms a small part of the total edible food surplus. Therefore, the aim must be to ensure that food does not become waste and it can be redistributed to those in need before their disposal.

“In the coming years, it is necessary to create an efficient system in Estonia that will help save the surplus safe and high-quality food. This requires cooperation with producers, retail chains, and catering establishments, as well as with each of us," said Piet Boerefijn, the head of the Estonian Food Bank. "In addition, the public and private sectors need to think about how to deliver this food quickly to the people in need which also requires very good coordination with local authorities, charities, schools, family physicians and food growers, producers, and retail chains."

In 2015, the European Union agreed on sustainable development goals for 15 years. This means that by 2030, the politicians of UN member states, including Estonia, are expected to support the achievement of this goal. The goal is to reduce retail and consumer-generated food waste by 50% per capita by 2030.

To draw attention to the importance of preventing food waste, an international conference "Food, no Waste!" will be held on 29 September from 11:00 to 16:00 organized by the Estonian Food Bank, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Ministry of the Environment. The conference can be viewed as a video broadcast via Delfi. The conference will focus on the prevention of food waste from the perspective of food redistribution.

The conference will be opened by Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik, Minister of Rural Affairs Arvo Aller, President of the European Food Banks Federation Jacques Vandenschrik, and European Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. Next, experts and practitioners from Estonia (Tallinn Waste Recycling Center), Great Britain (Tesco PLC), the Netherlands (Wageningen University and Science), and France (Agricultural Counselor of the French Embassy) will share their experiences.

Representatives of the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Tallinn Center of the Stockholm Environmental Institute will talk about the state’s policy in this field and the statistics on food waste generation. The experience of rescuing food in different Estonian sectors is shared by the Estonian Food Bank, Kiltsimäe organic farm, AS Farmi Piimatööstus, Rimi Eesti Food AS, Fotografiska Tallinn, and the Kaing family. The conference moderator is Kristo Elias.

The snacks offered at the conference are made from food saved from Rimi Estonia stores.

More information: eiraiska.ee

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