Canteens and restaurants in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark throw out 456,000 tons of food per year – despite an increase in efforts to prevent food waste. This amounts to 18kg per inhabitant per year. Today the Nordic Council of Ministers publishes a report on food waste and a guide to help the sector reduce this waste.
The report was commissioned by the Nordic Waste Prevention Group. The report is partly based on information gathered from previous studies and a survey undertaken in the four countries in January 2012.
The results of the survey only count the food that could have been eaten, not, for example, potato peelings and animal bones. The amount of food that is thrown away in canteens is probably even greater than stated in the report. Soups and sauces, for example, are flushed down the drain, and so are drinks. Food taken from the restaurant is not included either.
"Until now the debate has first and foremost been about the food that households throw away unnecessarily. But the restaurant and canteen sector is important", says Sanna Due, Administrator at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Danish and Finnish statistics indicate that large quantities of food in restaurants and canteens is thrown away. This covers both what is thrown away during cooking and processing in the kitchen and what the guests do not eat up", concludes Sanna Due.
It is possible to reduce food waste. A number of restaurants and canteens have already made good progress in this area. But more needs to be done. In addition to the report, a guide to help the sector reduce food waste is also being made available. It includes practical advice such as:
The Nordic Region aims to be a pioneer in the environment sector and to share its experiences with others. The green economy and resource efficiency are high on the agenda in Nordic co-operation generally, and are also one of the main points of the Norwegian Programme for the Presidency in the Nordic Council of Ministers 2012.
The Nordic Waste Group's contribution to this is to focus on waste prevention, material efficiency and to avoid the reuse of materials containing hazardous substances. The group consists of representatives from all the Nordic countries and the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland, and has several sub-groups including the Nordic Waste Prevention Group.
Sanna Due, Chair of the Nordic Waste Prevention Group. (Sweden) Telephone 010-6981432 Email: email@example.com