February 15, 2024

Waste Framework Directive - 14.02 amendment vote

Andrea Veselá

FoodCloud Communications Team

Yesterday the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety voted on an amendment to the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Waste Framework Directive, the EU’s framework legislation on waste management. The amendment, which would increase the binding food  waste reduction targets suggested by the Commission last July - to at least 20% in food processing and manufacturing (instead of 10%) and to 40% per capita in retail, restaurants, food services and households (instead of 30%) - was adopted by a landslide 72 votes in favour and none against, with three abstentions. The increase in targets being proposed by the Committee is welcome. But critically, while the proposal emphasises the importance of reducing food waste along the entire supply chain, it still avoids setting targets dealing with farm level losses. (The amendment does propose that the Commission shall conduct an assessment on the appropriate levels for the setting of targets for the reduction of all primary production food waste, including mature food left unharvested or used on farms, by the end of 2025.) 

FoodCloud agrees with the European Food Banks Federation’s assessment that the amendment to the WFD should cover the entire food chain and address farm level losses. A 2021 study by WWF and Tesco suggests that when these losses are taken into account, the level of food waste could be 40% (which is 10% higher than the commonly cited one third of food wasted). 

In the EU, excluding farm level losses, 60 million tonnes of food are wasted annually, with approximately 254 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent of emissions and an economic impact of €132 billion of associated market value of food waste, and €9.3 billion euros collection and treatment of food waste costs (European Commission, 2023). Meanwhile 37.1 million people across member states cannot afford a meal with a sufficient protein component every second day (ESTAT, 2023).

Following the Committee vote, the European Parliament is set to vote on the proposal during the plenary session in March 2024. The dossier will then be taken up by incoming MEPs following the European elections in June.

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