Under the revised Waste Framework Directive, food-waste reporting will become a mandatory part of Ireland’s national waste statistics obligations.

And its first report is due this month – June 2022 – with a reference year of 2020.

Under the revised rules, member states will be required to measure and report on annual estimates of the amount of food waste generated at the different stages of the food supply chain.

The main objectives of the new reporting requirements are: to provide policy makers with the means for monitoring food-waste sources; and support food-waste prevention, in particular, edible-food-waste prevention.

The above information was contained in a recent publication from the Central Statistics Office (CSO): Ireland’s UN SDGs – Goal 12 Responsible Consumption and Production 2021.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ireland generates about one million tonnes of food waste per year, not including wasted food from primary production.

This is based on current best estimates, which include a degree of uncertainty on the data from processing and manufacturing, the CSO stated.

Due to the high level of embedded resources and diverse collection mechanisms, post-consumer (household and commercial) food waste is of particular concern.

Waste not want not

  • Ireland generated about 1.1 million tonnes of food waste in 2019, up from 1.05 million tonnes in 2019.
  • About half (45%) of Ireland’s food waste is estimated to come from the processing and manufacturing sector.
  • The the remainder comes from households (23%) and the commercial sector including restaurants/food service and retail/distribution (32%).

These figures exclude food waste arising at the primary production stage – at present, little is known about the nature or extent of food waste in the primary-production sector in Ireland.

“The urgency and challenge of addressing food waste is highlighted at international level and EU level through the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Circular Economy Package,” the CSO stated in its report.

The EU aims to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030 under the Waste Framework Directive 2018 Article 9.

Prevention measures shall:

”Reduce the generation of food waste in primary production, in processing and manufacturing, in retail and other distribution of food, in restaurants and food services as well as in households as a contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to reduce by 50% the per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and to reduce food losses along production and supply chains by 2030”.