BY: ROB HOFFMAN
In the past few months France has established a number of green initiatives in response to a severe air pollution spike and an increasing demand from activists and an ecologically-concerned population. In the wake of their green roof and traffic reduction plans, last night, the National Pssembly of France made a unanimous vote to legally ban supermarkets from wasting unsold food, instead requiring them to donate for human consumption or animal feed.
This measure follows a decision made earlier this year to strike the ‘best-before’ date on non-perishable foods like rice and pasta.
Proposed by former food minister and Socialist deputy, Guillaume Garot, supermarkets are no longer allowed to intentionally ruin unsold food—a practice many stores had adopted to prevent dumpster divers from scavenging free groceries and eating potential profits. “It’s scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods,” says Garot.
In the wake of their green roof and traffic reduction plans, last night, the National Assembly of France made a unanimous vote to legally ban supermarkets from wasting unsold food, instead requiring them to donate for human consumption or animal feed.
By July 2016, supermarkets with a footprint larger than 400 square metres must sign contracts with charities that allow representatives to collect and re-distribute the food. Non-compliance could mean a fine up to $75,000 or two years in prison.
Annual food waste in France is estimated at 20-30kg per person, amounting to an incredible national price tag of €20 billion. France’s recent legislation is a step forward in an ongoing initiative to halve national food waste by 2025, according to French publication, L’Express.
The issue of food waste isn’t specific to France, either, with the Natural Resources Defense Council estimating that over 30% of food in the U.S. goes to waste, equating to $165 billion dollars in unused food, and a number of studies indicating 12 million tonnes of wasted food in the UK, costing an annual £19 billion.
Though it may come at the detriment of a growing population of ‘freegans’, it’s hopeful that France is merely the leader in an evolving global approach to food waste.