Less food for the bin: food does not have to be perfect
Every month, consumers throw away food worth 50 euros, according to the European Commission. The food waste is not only in the money. By producing food that ends up in the bin, important resources are also wasted. This, in turn, has an impact on the climate, explains Christine Lutz from Restlos Glücklich eV >
In Germany, about a third of the food produced is thrown away every year, according to the environmental organization WWF. That’s equivalent to 18 million tons that go into the garbage . Much of the waste is in German households. Meanwhile, however, more and more people are realizing that too many foods are being thrown away, observes Christine Lutz from Restlos Glücklich eV
Your association is one of many initiatives that aim to curb food waste. In an interview with finanzen.de, the second chairman of Restlos Glücklich eV explains why the negligent handling of food has far-reaching negative consequences. In addition, she shows what Germany can look away from France .
With foodsharing, the tablets or the “Too good to go” app, there are more and more platforms involved in saving food. What is your experience: Has consumer interaction with food changed in recent years?
Christine Lutz: We are very pleased that there are more and more initiatives and projects that draw attention to the problem of food waste and show that there is another way. The awareness that in Germany too much food is thrown away, in my view, is getting bigger.
One third of the food we produce in the global West ends up in the bin. Each of us can make a difference and choose how to make food more appreciated. Awareness is increasing – but implementation is still a long way off.
In your opinion, what are the three most common reasons why food is thrown away?
Christine Lutz: Food losses and waste occur along the entire value chain from the field to our plates. The biggest waste unfortunately arises in private households. I think the three most common reasons are
- wrong storage,
- too big portions and
- too much bought.
What prejudices do you encounter from people who find it hard to imagine eating outdated food?
Christine Lutz: Many people imagine that the rejected food was already in the bin. But sorted foods are also those in which the best before date expires or is actually not relevant at all. These are foods in which the packaging is minimally damaged, labeled incorrectly or no longer fit into the current range as seasonal items .
Her association tries to sensitize people for a more conscious approach, for example with cooking classes for children and adolescents. How could politics in your eyes contribute to reducing food waste?
Christine Lutz: I would like to see more regulation to reduce food waste to a greater extent. In France, a new law was launched some time ago, where supermarkets may in the future no longer throw away food, but are forced by law to donate it .
Of course that alone is not the solution. It also needs a broader strategy that encompasses the entire value chain, from producer to consumer . The problems can be solved in the interaction of all involved: For example, by the consumer does not expect perfect food, but consumed crooked fruits and vegetables, which is not up to standard.
Another topic is the expiration date , which is very unclear and has different meanings for the food.
Unfortunately, from my point of view, politics is not adequately addressing this issue, which affects not just us but the whole world and the environment. We not only waste money and food, but also all the resources needed to produce these foods: water, acreage, CO2. This has a negative effect on global warming . As a consumer, we can do a lot to reduce waste. Therefore, it is our special concern to spread this with education courses.
With the workshop “Trust Your Senses” you are one of the Fairwalker winners 2018. What exactly is the workshop about?
Christine Lutz: “Trust Your Senses” is an educational initiative that consists of a practical part (cooking classes) and a theoretical part for both children and adults. We would like to offer a playful and interactive learning offer on the topic of food waste and sustainable nutrition, pass on concrete knowledge and tips for more appreciation of food and stimulate a creative and enjoyable approach to the topic of food.
Especially for children, it is particularly important to learn which way their food has brought to their plate . In addition, we prepare delicacies from salvaged food and show how delicious crooked vegetables and ripe fruit can taste.
What significance does the award have for you?
Christine Lutz: We are honored to receive the Fairwalker Award. The Karl Kübel Foundation has made a lot of effort and not only put on a great award ceremony, but also created a wonderful workshop with networking opportunities. I loved all the other 13 projects and each of you deserves a prize. It’s nice to see how diverse the commitment of young people here in Germany is and I came back to Berlin full of inspiration and motivation.