The Horizon 2020 project – known as Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain (REFRESH) – is set to run from 2015 to 2019, and will work to reduce food waste and waste management costs, in addition to maximising the value from unavoidable food waste and packaging materials.
According to information provided by the project, around 100 million tonnes of food are wasted annually in the EU, and that if nothing is done, waste levels could rise to over 120 million tonnes by 2020. Indeed, the food resources being lost and wasted in Europe would be enough to feed all the hungry people in the world two times over, according to a 2015 European Commission report.
“It’s imperative that we take an EU-wide, comprehensive approach to reducing avoidable waste, and finding better uses for what can’t be avoided” commented Professor Keith Waldron, director of the UK Institute of Food Research (IFR) Biorefinery Centre – who will be leading work aimed at identifying key waste streams across the EU, and finding ways of adding value to them by turning them into other products.
Led by Wageningen UR, the four year project aims to develop strategic agreements to reduce food waste with governments, business and local stakeholders in four pilot countries (Spain, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands), in addition to formulating EU policy recommendations and supporting national implementation of food waste policy frameworks.
According to Waldron, the project will evaluate technological feasibility, economic viability, legislative compliance and environmental sustainability through four European pilot countries as well as in China.