Currently, the European Union food chain generates around 88 million tonnes of food waste every year. This has a huge impact on society, the economy, and the environment, and that is why EU food industry has always been committed to keeping on improving its sustainable practices. A new EU-funded project, WASTELESS, aims to develop tools and recommendations for measuring, monitoring and ultimately reducing food loss and food waste by at least 20% annually.
WASTELESS – Waste Quantification Solutions To Limit Environmental Stress – was launched on 18-19th January 2023, when more than fifty European experts gathered for two days in Vila Real, Portugal.
The multidisciplinary consortium comprises 16 beneficiaries, 12 affiliated entities and 1 associated partner from 14 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey. The coordinator is UTAD (University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro) Vila Real, PT. The budget is 5,5 million Euro from the EU Horizon Europe programme.
WASTELESS will contribute to achieving ‘Farm2Fork’ objectives and targets and ‘European Green Deal’, which aim to reduce amounts of food waste by half per capita at retail and consumer levels by 2030. In addition, outcomes from this project could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade, contributing to global climate change mitigation strategies.
According to the European Parliament, currently, each European citizen wastes approximately 173-343 kg of food annually. This means that around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted every year across the 27 EU Member States, costing EUR 143 billion. Food waste comes from several sources including significant proportions from primary production (58%) and households (22%). The remainder comes from processing (10%), food service (7%) along with wholesale and retail (3%).
To address high levels of household food waste, WASTELESS will carry out case studies to understand utilisation and role/contribution of specific food groups such as fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, processed meat, dairy products and cereals. These studies are our best ways to evaluate and measure objectively mechanisms of action that will enable reduction and re-use of this waste in the long term.
WASTELESS will also explore ways to measure food loss and waste in critical and less-known food supply chains and propose ways of quantifying the data. At the same time, it will develop a toolbox, an innovative set of decision-support tools for all those working along the food chain as well policymakers, developed in partnership with consumers and non-governmental organisations as well as HORECA representatives through hubs across the EU.
More details will be available soon on wastelesseu.com. You can follow WASTELESS news and updates also on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Participating members of WASTELESS Project
1. University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (Coordinator) – Portugal
1.1. Colab4Food Association- Portugal
2. CTIC CITA – Spain
2.1. GVTARRA, SA – Spain
2.2. UVE, S.A. – Spain
3. Hacettepe University – Turkey
4. Europatat – Belgium
5. Iseki Food Association – Austria
6. University of Southern Denmark – Denmark
7. Spread European Safety and Sustainability GEIE – Italy
7.1. FEDERALIMENTARE – Italy
7.2. ANIA – France
7.3. FIPA – Portugal
7.4. FIAB – Spain
7.5. SEVT – Greece
7.6. SETBIR – Turkey
7.7. GZS – Slovenia
7.8. LVA – Austria
7.9. PKCR-FFDi – Czech Republic
8. Eurofir – Belgium
9. VIMOSZ – Hungary
10. WIISE, SRL – Italy
11. Jožef Stefan Institute – Slovenia
12. Fazla Gida – Turkey
13. Tartu Biotehnoloogia Park – Estonia
14. Aitown, SRL – Italy
15. University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest – Hungary
16. Instituto Superior de Agronomia – Portugal
17. Agroscope – Switzerland