The problem of food waste is a global one, with environmental costs reaching $700 billion a year. 1.9 billion tonnes of food is wasted every day, which is equivalent to 8% of greenhouse gases (2.5 billion tonnes of GHG). At the same time, Europe records more than 173kg of food waste per person per year.
Food waste is not only a moral and economic concern, but also an environmental one. The food we put on our plates every day is inextricably linked to nature and its quality depends on its health. Soil, water and sunlight are essential elements for the crops from which the raw materials for our food come.
Cyprus, of course, occupies a very poor position in Europe, as it records huge numbers of waste.
The data in question relate to a report on the results of a quantitative market survey on household organic waste and food purchasing and management habits in Cypriot households. The report used CAWI (Computer Aided Web Interviewing) methodology to conduct the interviews.
The survey covered 554 people aged 18 and over, who are either responsible for shopping in the household or responsible for preparing food. The geographical distribution of the sample was similar to the actual distribution of the population and, according to this, seven out of ten consumers in Cyprus tend to buy more than the necessary quantities of food. Also one in six, quite often or always throws away the food left in the garbage.
Harmful to the environment and our health
Food that is thrown away is taken to landfills where it decomposes. According to data published by the Greek website ‘naftemporiki’ in 2015, during the process of food rotting, large amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane are emitted, a gas that is 25 times more damaging than carbon dioxide to global warming. Many tonnes of gases are emitted annually, estimated at 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases, or 7% of total emissions.
Food waste is a global problem, describing the disposal of food that was not consumed. The phenomenon does not only occur in household waste, but in the entire food system, at the stage of production, processing, distribution, retail and finally consumption.
By wasting food we contribute to worsening climate change, wasting natural resources and more.
Very important to reduce waste
In our country we waste twice as much food per person as the rest of Europe and we are the third worst in Europe. Every year 88 million tonnes of food waste are produced in Europe and in Cyprus this number, unfortunately, amounts to 155,000 tonnes.
52.7% of Cypriots consider it very important to reduce food waste in order to protect the environment. Supply yourself with what you really need and not with unnecessary products, which at the end of the day end up in the rubbish bin.
The relevant data were presented at a press conference given by the partnership of the “FoodPrint” campaign under the slogan “No more food waste”, consisting of the “Zeus” Group, the OEB, the Department of Environment, the “Friends of the Earth” Organization, the “Parponas – Sustainability” Environmental Consultants and “Opinion and Action” Communication Consultants.
The main emotion that consumers were said to experience when throwing food and groceries in the trash is generally guilt at 56%.
This is followed by the unfair waste of money (46%).
The environment is on the minds of only three in ten consumers.
According to a quantitative survey by the Dias group and its websites: Despite the frivolous and criminal, one could say, actions of citizens, consumers consider it very important to reduce waste in order to protect the environment. In particular, 52.7% consider it very important, 25.6% quite important, 9.9% somewhat important, while only 6.5% consider it not so important and 5.4% not at all important.