25% of food in Malta ends up discarded – a law to regulate waste needed

A European Commission study has revealed that thousands of new jobs can be created in Europe if waste material besides being recycled is also reduced.

Malta also has a lot to contribute in this regards as National Office for Statistics figures show that on average 25% of foodstuffs purchased finish up being wasted and thrown away. The same figures also show that discarded food makes up more than 50% of domestic waste.

In a study carried out by the EU Commission two years ago it was calculated that with the package of directives and amendments on waste management to be discussed during the Malta EU Council Presidency, by 2030 more than 180,000 new jobs will be generated if instead of just recycling waste, such waste will also be reduced. It is also calculated that if everybody plays their part in Europe there will be a reduction of 443 tons of toxic gas emissions.

Invited by the Regions Committee in Brussels, Environment Minister Jose’ Herrera said that efforts should not solely come from governments because citizens also had to play their part in the reduction of waste.

Reduction in food waste is an integral and leading part of the overall aims. EU Members are being requested that by 2025 food waste is reduced by 30% and by 2030 this reduction will rise to 50%. Each person is calculated to generate 180 kilos of waste food per annum.

Minister Herrera said that Malta has introduced the organic waste bag so that half of the food waste that is being put in black bags will no longer do so and will avoid being dumped in landfills. He explained that food placed in organic bags is processed and provides resources to reduce toxic gases, the main contributant to climate change and global warming.

Dr Herrera mentioned the NSO statistics showing that on average 25% of foodstuffs were ending up being discarded. He said this should be addressed not only by information campaigns but also by a legal framework. He said such measure will help the Malta Plan for Waste Treatment which is aiming that by 2050 no waste will be generated.