Is it possible to stop food waste?


Germany is a very environmentally friendly country. This is one aspect I have noticed from the very start particularly among the youth. People are very careful when it comes to recycling correctly; there is a strong trend towards purchasing as many Bio products as possible and, to a certain extent, even decreasing the quantity of meat consumed in order to diminish the impact on the environment besides protecting the animals (I know this may come as a shock considering that the German Wurst is a national brand, but I have met more vegetarians here in over a year than I have in over 20 years in Romania).

Last year, it was announced that Germany would also close down all of its nuclear power plants by 2022 and invest more in developing green energy (obtained from solar, wind or hydroelectric sources). Almost everywhere you look, it seems that Germany is one step ahead in terms of protecting the environment. The topic is constantly being discussed in the media. However, it has still got a long way ahead.

One recent initiative I have found very interesting, because it addresses an issue I have been pondering over, is called Taste the Waste.  This initiative tackles the problem of food waste in the European Union foremost. And according to the figures (which I doubt are in any way exaggerations) this is a major problem. I have always wondered what happens to all the food in supermarkets which is not sold before expiration date or all the food that gets left behind at restaurants, hoping that maybe the answer would not always be throwing it all away. But this is the case most of the  time or, in fact, all the time.

The Taste the Waste movement tries to raise awareness and propose solutions to put an end to this problem to the main participants involved: consumers, retailers, restaurants, the packaging and food industry.

Lately, the founder of the initiative, Valentin Thurn, announced the intention to develop a smartphone application for food sharing. No, not one of those apps which people use to share photos with food they cooked (such as DishPal or YumYum!), but one where people could actually give away food they would otherwise think of throwing away to others interested.

Although the idea may have some flaws – those who know about and use apps are usually well off and generally dislike having leftovers, let alone receive food from someone else -, I think that in the long run it may have some chances to take off. When I say this, I have in mind the growth in popularity of anything vintage (or more straight forward: second hand) especially in Germany, where the market for such items is extremely vast. Given that people are so environmentally conscious, more and more people will start considering carefully before they choose to throw away something and instead, do a good deed and give it to someone who wants it.

Meanwhile, here is a short clip about the magnitude of food waste:

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