Reducing food losses and waste in the Irish food system will require us all to act! This is your chance to do something:
If you can spare it, make a small donation to help us fight food waste.
Here are some tips that will help you to get working on your pledge straight away!
- Shop wisely – Planning meals, using shopping lists and avoiding impulse buys or marketing tricks that lead to overbuying can all help reduce the amount of food you have to throw out at the end of the week.
- Know your dates - Use up foods with the shortest dates first, and when shopping check to see if fresh foods can be frozen in case you don’t get round to eating them over the week. Best before dates are for quality, so you can eat these foods after this date, they just may no longer be at their best. Use by dates are for safety, you can eat or freeze foods right up to the use by date.
- Enjoy the difference - By purchasing fruits and vegetables with variations in size, shape, or colour, you can support a more complete use of our lovely fruit and vegetable resources.
- Freeze unused ingredients – Most foods can be frozen for another time, and you can always freeze right up to the use-by date.
- Serve smaller portions and save leftovers – Online portion calculators can help you prepare the appropriate amount of food. Uneaten meals can be saved as leftovers for later in the week or frozen and eaten later. Forgotten foods such as the wrinkly old tomato at the back of the fridge or the leftover portion of potatoes which usually sit in the fridge waiting to be thrown away could be turned into a tasty soup or a light lunch.
For Businesses By signing up to the Food Waste Pyramid, food businesses can highlight positive initiatives to reduce food waste and promote practical solutions that save resources by avoiding unwanted surpluses, diverting surplus food to charities or livestock feed and avoiding landfill. The Food Waste Pyramid also shows the simple steps that businesses can take to tackle food waste, in order of priority.
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A few simple actions from the Government would help to fight food waste and hunger in Ireland
- A comprehensive study of food waste is needed at a national level with detailed information on where and how much food is lost. This is important information that is needed to raise awareness of the scale of the problem, to provide more detailed and accurate data, set baselines against which improvement can be measured, set national goals for waste reduction and identify hot spots and opportunity areas, including where surplus food could be redistributed to those who need it most.
- Create a more favourable environment for redistributing surplus food to charitable groups. This would work to fight food waste and also alleviate hunger in Ireland. In the US, there are tax incentives in place which make it financially advantageous for companies to donate their surplus products.
- To encourage surplus food donations, we ask the government to limit potential liability donors face when donating good food. The US enacted the “Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act” in 1996. The act protects businesses, organizations, and individuals that donate food in good faith from legal liability that might arise from their donations. We want the same for Ireland.
- Create a platform for government, private sector and the charity and social enterprise sector to work together to identify opportunities to divert food, which is currently being sent to animal feed or for composting, back to human consumption. Examples include Bia Foodbank and Food Glorious Food.