EU Circular Economy Package: the road to food waste reduction

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Blank craft vector realistic paper packaging bag with recycle sign and place for your branding.On December 2, 2015, the Commission launched its Circular Economy Package. Contrary to an old proposal which tackled only waste reduction, this new Package covers the full economic cycle. The Commission considers the Circular economy to offer “an opportunity to reinvent our economy, making it more sustainable and competitive”. This new proposal now needs to be agreed by the European Parliament and the Member states.

The Package targets, amongst other things, packaging waste, landfill, and industry cooperation. Several targets are set for 2030: 75% of the packaging waste should be recycled, while landfill should only represent 10% of all waste – only the latter is a binding measure. Economic instruments to discourage landfilling will be promoted. Several measures are planned to encourage industries to cooperate and form symbiosis. One industry’s by-product should be re-used by another industry as a raw material. Economic incentives should encourage the industry to develop recycling schemes, for example for packaging.

The proposal explicitly underwrites the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and its target of halving food waste by 2030. Uniform methodologies to measure progress on food waste reduction should be established, with bi-annual reporting on food waste levels. For the Parliament, the proposal does not go far enough. In July already MEPs asked for a binding food waste reduction target of 30% by 2025.

Along the full margarine life cycle, food waste is estimated to be only between 1 and 5% of total production, with a concentration during the agriculture and consumer stages. Food waste at the margarine production sites is less than 1%. Minimizing food waste is a constant point of attention in our sector. Most of the food waste in our sector is recycled as animal feed or used as biofuel.

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