When France recently passed legislation that makes it illegal for stores to purposely waste discarded food, people worldwide took to the internet to voice their unconditional approval and questioned the obvious— will this genius plan become global?
Arash Derambarsh, the local councillor who initiated the legislation in his own Paris suburb, is currently preparing to convince other countries to adopt Frances new and widely popular method of reducing food waste.
Statistically, the world wastes 1/3 of its total food supply. Undeniably this incredible calculation is neither acceptable or justifiable. Derambarsh himself had recognised this problem and decided to take a stand in the fight against food waste.
He believes that it is “scandalous and absurd”, that stores either waste or deliberately destroy their food, while millions of homeless, poor and unemployed people go hungry.
Before Derambarsh took his idea to French MPs, he first initiated a petition to strengthen his cause. In just four months his petition gained more than 200,000 signatures and celebrity support. After the amendment was approved as part of a wider law, called the Loi Macron, which covers economic activity and equality in France. It is scheduled to be passed by the national assembly on April 2, and enter the statute books shortly after.
Once actioned the new law will ban the country’s supermarkets from discarding any food approaching its best-before dates, force them to donate unwanted food to charities or farmers and prohibit them from destroying or poisoning any food with bleach, preventing the products from being salvaged and put to better use.
“Food is the basis of life, it is an elementary factor in our existence,” Derambarsh told The Guardian, which is why he is eager to attempt convincing more counties to adopt his idea.
Nation and international food waste is an issue very important and personal to Derambarsh.
“I have been insulted and attacked and accused of being naive and idealistic, but I became a local councillor because I wanted to help people. Perhaps it is naive to be concerned about other human beings, but I know what it is like to be hungry. When I was a law student living on about €400 a month after I’d paid my rent, I used to have one proper meal a day around 5pm. I’d eat pasta, or potatoes, but it’s hard to study or work if you are hungry and always thinking about where the next meal will come from.”
It is estimated that roughly 805 million people worldwide — about 1 in 9 people — do not have enough food. Contrary to popular belief not all these hungry individuals are found in poverty stricken countries. The homeless, unemployed and those earning a low wage in developed nations, survive on very little food.
Derambarsh is planning to table the issue — via the campaign group ONE, founded by U2 singer Bono — in September when the United Nations discuss its Millenium development goals to end poverty. He also plans to table the issue at the G20 economic summit in Turkey in November and at the COP21 environment conference in Paris in December.
Amongst the buzz around Derambarsh’s inspiring goals, it has been reported that 7.1 million tons of food is estimated to be thrown away annually in France — 67% by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by shops. A shocking 89 million tones of food is wasted across the EU and 1.3 billion tones is estimated to be wasted worldwide.
With these statistics in mind, you can help initiate change today. Reduce your household waste by consuming more responsibly, at the supermarket only purchase food you are certain you will consume before it spoils. Make use of leftovers or even donate excess food to your local food bank or homeless shelter. Together we can start reducing the excessive amount of food that is wasted every year.
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