Ireland’s food waste problem is out of control

Louise Hickey

Ireland’s food waste problem is one of the most pressing issues facing the country today. The amount of food waste generated in Ireland has reached unprecedented levels, and it is threatening both the environment and the economy.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 770,300 tonnes of food are wasted in Ireland annually.

The root of the problem lies in our consumerist culture that values convenience over sustainability. We are buying more food than we need, which is not only leading to excessive waste but also to increased greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water pollution, and other environmental problems.

The situation has become so dire that the government has launched a national reduction strategy to tackle the issue head-on. However, despite these efforts, Ireland’s food waste problem is still spiraling out of control.

EPA estimates that 31% of this waste is generated by households, with the average household wasting around 130kg of food per year.

One of the main reasons for this is the lack of awareness among consumers about the impact of their food choices on the environment. Many people still believe that throwing food away is a minor issue, without realising the scale of the problem.

Another contributing factor is the lack of proper infrastructure. Many households and businesses don’t have the facilities to compost or recycle their waste, which means that it ends up in landfills or burned in incinerators.

Furthermore, supermarkets and restaurants also play a major role in exacerbating the problem. They often overstock their shelves with fresh produce, causing much of it to go off before it can be sold.

As food continues to pile up, it puts pressure on the country’s already-strained waste management system, leading to increased costs for businesses and households alike.

Moreover, food waste also has implications for global hunger. If we could reduce our food waste, we would be able to feed millions of people who currently go hungry each day.

The solution of course is not easy but involves raising awareness among consumers, improving waste management infrastructure, and holding businesses accountable for their practices. Only then can we hope to reverse the trend and create a more sustainable future for Ireland and the world.

Louise Hickey

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