France Aims to Cut Food Waste in Half

France passed aggressive legislation to help curb its food waste. The France food waste law focuses on supermarkets and aims to halve the country's wasted food.

France passed aggressive legislation to help curb its food waste. The France food waste law focuses on supermarkets and aims to halve the country’s wasted food.

Various online forums for dumpster divers regularly report on efforts by retailers to curtail diving for edible food. Many larger chains have shifted to trash compactors, while some that still use dumpsters will destroy food by pouring bleach on it. If this strikes you as ridiculous, it should: food that’s good to eat should be eaten… not ruined.

Related: France’s Zero-Waste Grocery Store: Meet Day by Day

The French government apparently agrees, and has passed legislation forbidding the destruction or disposal of edible food by larger supermarkets. According to The Guardian:

“The law explicitly bans the practice of supermarkets deliberately spoiling unsold food so it cannot be eaten. Bigger supermarkets – those with a footprint of 400 sq m or more – will be obliged to sign formal contracts with charities by July next year, or face penalties including fines of up to €75,000 (£53,000) or two years in jail.

The measures are part of wider official efforts to halve the amount of food waste in the country by 2025. According to official estimates, the average French person throws out 20-30kg of food a year, at a combined national cost of up to €20bn.”

In addition, the new France food waste law requires schools and businesses to implement food waste education programs.

While we’ve seen statewide efforts in the US to ban sending food waste to landfills, I’m not aware of similar laws anywhere here focused on edible food. Of course, I’d love to see supermarkets and other retailers take such efforts on without legislation – maybe it’s time to start emailing.

Know of laws like this in other places, or other efforts to make sure edible food gets eaten rather than thrown away? Share them with us!

Syndicated with permission from Sustainablog; image via Shutterstock.

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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at
  • Rod Averbuch

    Food waste is a lose-lose situation for the environment, the struggling families in today’s tough economy and for the food retailers.
    Fortunately, there are new ways to avoid unsold food waste.
    The new open GS1 DataBar barcode standard enables new food waste reduction applications that offer relevant, environmentally friendly and personalized fresh food deals.
    An example of such an application is the “End Grocery Waste” App. This GS1 DataBar based application encourages efficient consumer shopping behavior that makes fresh food affordable for all families, maximizes grocery retailer revenue, and effectively reduces the global carbon footprint.