The environmental issues

In Ireland it is estimated that almost one million tonnes of food is dumped annually, much of which is not actually food waste but is better described as surplus food. This is food that, as a consequence of modern food production, distribution and stocking does not reach consumers.

The precise reasons for this vary but include over production, distribution delays, short-dated stock, end of line production, mis-shaped fruit and veg, unsold products etc.

The dumping of this surplus not only places a significant demand on the environment in terms of landfill but also with regards to the resources that went into creating the produce in the first place; wasted energy, water, materials and labour. Add to this the CO2 immissions from the manufacturing and distribution process, along with the lost economic value of the food itself, and it becomes very clear that the environmental cost of dumping all this foodstuff is nothing short of crazy.

By diverting surplus food to where it’s needed Foodshare Kerry not only supports charities in their important work but also encourages the efficient use of our precious natural resources.

It is estimated at every Irish householder throws away €700 of good food each year. This works out at about 80kg of food waste per person per annum. The vast majority of it will end up in landfill sites where it will cause further problems as a result of odour, pests and production of methane gas. We throw away such large quantities of good food because we buy too much of it, we store it incorrectly and we cook too much of it. 60% of food waste is certainly avoidable and a further 20% is potentially avoidable. The other 20% is unavoidable such as skins, bones etc.

What are the foods we throw away most commonly?
Unfortunately it is lots but with a little care we can certainly reduce it.

In Kerry we throw away 50% of salads, 25% of fruit and vegetables, 20% of breads, 10% of expensive meat and fish and we pour about 10% of milk and dairy down the drain. Potatoes are the most commonly disposed vegetable and bananas and apples are the fruits that we throw out most frequently.

Stringent food waste management regulations have been introduced to put an end to landfill dumping of large amounts of biodegradable material. These restrictions have resulted in higher waste disposal costs for retails. Diverting surplus food into the charity section not only makes moral and environmental sense, but good economic sense too.

  1. Record your food waste to shock yourself into doing something about it
  2. Plan your weekly meals in advance
  3. Watch your shopping – only buy what you plan to cook and never shop when you are hungry!
  4. Store your food correctly and make sure you know the ‘use by dates’. ‘Best by dates’ are less important
  5. Know your portion size – an overloaded plate leads to an overloaded bin

Visit for further details on how to
prevent food waste.