Hamburg will motion the Bundesrat to urge the German government to initiate a law on the avoidance of food waste, said Cornelia Prüfer-Storcks, Senator for Consumer Protection, during a visit to the food bank (Hamburger Tafel) in early August. Around 2.58 million tons of food waste is generated in wholesale and retail alone of which 2.4 million tons could be avoided. More than 18 million tons of food end up as waste in Germany every year, according to a 2015 study by the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF).
“Food that can still be eaten should not be thrown away and can be given to social institutions or initiatives,” said Prüfer-Storcks. Millions of tons of “hygienically impeccable food” end up in rubbish heaps although more than 940 charitable food banks across Germany collect surplus food and distribute it to more than 1.5 million needy people nationwide.” Trade should be legally obliged to deliver food to non-profit organisations to fight waste effectively and sustainably, Prüfer-Storcks added. Hamburg will motion the Bundesrat to urge the German government to initiate the law on food waste promptly.
Experiences across Europe
Around 2.4 million tons of food waste generated by wholesalers and retailers could be avoided, if retailers made the right decisions and in accordance with consumer expectations, the WWF study found. Measures in other European countries show that a legal obligation goes hand in hand with increased donations to aid organisations. A law in effect since 2016 in France, for instance, obliges large French supermarkets to draw up agreements on food donations with non-profit organisations rather than disposing of edible food.
Founded in 1994, the Hamburger Tafel e. V. has supplied needy people with food every week. More than 100 volunteers at the food bank help distribute around 40 tons of food to some 20,000 needy people every week.