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Norway developing strategies for the reduction of food waste

Several research groups in Norway have started a cooperation in a project that will get Norwegians to throw away less food waste.

Each year an average Norwegian throws away over 50 kg of food, that would be otherwise consumable. This makes up to 240 000 tons of food that could be actually eaten or about one quarter of all food produced in Norway. Food waste in Norway represented in 2009 54% of the rest mixed municipal solid waste. Although shops and the food industry contribute a lot to this share, consumers contribute about 80% of food being thrown away.  

The project “Reducing food waste in the value chain” is designed as a cooperation between Nofima, Østfold Research, SIFO and the industrial and retail sector. The main focus of the project is how to make consumers to throw away less food. The aim is to increase the awareness and the knowledge about the food waste as well as to take action against it.

In addition, Norwegian businesses have started a cooperation project with all key factors in the value chain involved. Their goal is to reduce the amount of food waste by 25% by 2015. The project is supported by the Ministry Agriculture and Food and by the Environmental ministry.

Both projects will run for four years.

Major environmental impacts

Food waste contributes majorly to green house gas emissions. The annual production of food waste in Norway is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from 160.000 cars. Thrown away food causes far more serious environmental impacts than its packaging.

The research project in Norway will also try to look for utilisation options for waste food. Ole Jørgen Hansen from Østfold Research believes that production of biogas is the most environmentally friendly way for the utilisation of food waste. Through biogas production Norway could save up to 50.000 tons of greenhouse gasses. 

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