Government

Calls for EC to ban supermarket food waste

Calls for EC to ban food waste in Circular Economy Package

A new EU-wide campaign is calling on the European Commission (EC) to include an obligation in its revised Circular Economy Package for supermarkets to donate their unsold food to charity.

Running across seven EU countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, and the UK – the STOP Food Waste in Europe petition has been launched by a range of campaigners opposing food waste, in association with the Action Against Hunger charity and the French Red Cross, to prevent edible food from being wasted.

The campaigners are asking members of the public to sign a petition that calls on the EC’s President, Vice-President, Environment Minister, and President of the European Parliament (along with the political leaders of the countries listed above) to introduce a new directive calling on every supermarket to give its unsold food to a charity of its choice.

It follows on from a similar petition in France, led by Arash Derambarsh, a municipal councillor in Courbevoie, that resulted in France introducing a new law requiring large supermarkets to enter into formal agreements with food redistribution charities by July 2016. The law also requires any food past its sell-by date to be sent for composting, anaerobic digestion or for use as animal feed – rather than disposal. Anyone found not to be complying with the law would be liable for penalties, including fines of up to €75,000 (£53,000) or two years’ imprisonment.

‘We want hundreds of thousands of people to sign this petition’

The petition, the UK version of which is managed by food waste campaigner and founder of Feedback Tristram Stuart, has already collected more than 380,000 signatures.

It reads: ‘Across Europe, over 80 million people live below the poverty line. Many people struggle to even feed their families and yet every supermarket in Europe throws away an average of more than 40kg of unsold food every day!

‘Thanks to a huge petition on Change.org launched by Arash Derambarsh, a municipal councillor in Courbevoie, France introduced a new law requiring supermarkets to donate unsold food to charity. This French victory has created an echo around the world.

‘It’s now time to step up the campaign and call for European legislation to stop food waste in every country in Europe. That’s why we’ve launched this petition asking the European Union to introduce a new directive calling on every supermarket to give its unsold food to a charity of its choice.’

Stuart concluded: ‘We want hundreds of thousands of people to sign this petition to ask the European Commission to include an obligation for supermarkets to donate their unsold food to charity in its new strategy. The petition will strengthen calls from citizens around Europe during [the Circular Economy Package] consultation period.’

Writing to Resource, Derambarsh added: ‘Following a dynamic and enthusiastic campaign that lasted only four months, we obtained the vote for a historic law at the [French] National Assembly on 21 May.

‘This law requires supermarkets to give their unsold supplies to the association of their choice. However, this legislation should be extended to the European Union….

‘So, it’s time to mobilise to extend similar legislation at the European level to stop food waste in each European country.

‘We need all citizens to ensure that this French law becomes a European directive... If hundreds of thousands of us ask the European Commission to include the obligation for supermarkets to donate their unsold food, it cannot ignore our call.’

Find out more about the STOP Food Waste in Europe petition and Arash Derambarsh's previous campaign.

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