Berlin The Greens want to put a stop to food waste by law. "We want an anti-disposable law that obliges food markets to deliver edible food to aid agencies and obliges food producers not to destroy food because of labeling errors," said the dietary spokeswoman of the Green Bundestag faction, Renate Künast, the Handelsblatt.
In a parliamentary motion, which is the Handelsblatt present and is to be introduced on Thursday in the Bundestag, the Greens parliamentary group calls on the federal government to submit a bill. As a model, they call France in this. There, supermarkets with a retail space of more than 400 square meters will have to donate unsold food to local food banks or other nonprofit organizations. Per offense threatens a fine of 3,750 euros.
The Greens also demand by decree that there is no sales tax on food donated to charities. In addition, they believe that a "regulatory framework" is necessary that will allow food markets to "make accessible edible food accessible and eliminate inappropriate liability risks for unlocked provision".
The Greens' motion contains a package of measures to reduce food waste by 30% by 2025 and halve it by 2030, as the document says. For example, the taking away of discarded food from waste containers, the so-called container, will in future be punish-free in Germany. "In addition, we want to abolish the best-before date on very durable foods such as rice and pasta," said Künast. According to the application, the Federal Government should work for the measure at EU level.
The Greens also argue for the use of electronic price tags, which show a discount if the expiration date is approaching. For the food trade to make use of it, the Federal Government should promote appropriate "technical innovations".
Many overlaps with request of the CDU
Künast sees urgent need for action. "Wasting food is not only a disrespectful way of dealing with our food, it also damages our environment and the climate," said the Green politician.
Many points in the application coincide with the ideas of Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU). Already in February, the Federal Cabinet adopted the so-called strategy for reducing food waste. Central requirement: to reduce food waste by half by 2030. Intermediate stages have not yet been formulated.
Together with all sectors, they wanted to agree on concrete targets that would need to be verifiably complied with, the ministry said in September. "From farmers, processors, wholesalers and retailers to restaurants and households, we are developing measures to reduce food waste for all sectors."
Agriculture, for example, could still produce more demand-oriented, food producers were required to optimize processes so that less food waste would be produced. End users need more awareness and awareness. In the gastronomy, among other things, there is the possibility to adjust portion sizes. Legal hurdles to take away food have already been reduced, it is said.
According to a FAO report, a large amount of food is lost worldwide before it even reaches consumers – between harvesting and reaching the retailer. Mostly affected are fruits and vegetables. According to that, 14 percent of all food already spoils during production. Not only Künast considers this a scandal. It is generally considered a huge waste of resources. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced.
Therefore, Künast considers "a turnaround in agriculture" to be one of the main causes of food waste at the beginning of the production chain. She advocates "quality-oriented production based on quality rather than mass and better and more sustainable harvesting methods". This causes fewer losses and contributes to the appreciation of food.
How many foods are actually thrown away is difficult to determine. On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute (TI) together with the University of Stuttgart calculated for the first time the emergence of food waste across the entire supply chain for Germany. The result – 11.86 million tons (as of 2015) – the ministry announced in September.
According to the figures, more than half of the food in private households is thrown away – on average about 75 kilograms. Beverage losses, which would be disposed of via the sewer, but are not taken into account.
Legal obligation not to be expected in Germany
The Klöckner Ministry considers the proportion of food waste in commerce to be much lower here than in other sectors, according to the ministry. For example, it has been common for many years for many supermarkets to hand over unsold and still edible food to the boards or other social amenities on a voluntary basis. The boards in Germany saved more than 260,000 tons of food from around 30,000 food markets every year. In France, the number of salvaged food – despite the law – at only 46,000 tons, according to the Ministry.
A legal obligation for supermarkets is not to be expected in Germany. Most recently, on 11 October, the Federal Council rejected a motion for a resolution by Hamburg, Bremen and Thuringia aimed at legally obliging trade to donate food to non-profit organizations instead of throwing it away.
With their initiative, the three countries wanted to ask the Federal Government to submit a corresponding amendment to the Federal Council. They find that the current voluntary donor system is not enough to halve food waste by 2030, as the coalition agreement and the United Nations agenda do.
The FAO (World Food Organization) evaluated data from 2016 and found large regional differences worldwide: In Central and South Asia, the loss rate is highest at more than 20 percent. In Europe and North America, losses are also above average at 16 percent. In North Africa and western Asia about twelve percent are lost, in Australia and New Zealand, there are only about six percent.
The report cites several reasons for the losses. These include incorrect harvest times and techniques, climatic conditions, poor storage and poor transport.
Avoiding food losses is one of the UN's sustainability goals. This should help to secure the global food supply, reduce costs and achieve a more environmentally friendly production.
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