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Municipal food waste in Ukraine: challenges and action taken

World’s growing population and unprecedented urbanization introduce additional challenges associated with the use of resources and management of waste, including an increased amount of food waste generated. Nevertheless, cities are uniquely positioned to tackle these issues, as they are more agile in the policy development and program implementation.


In Ukraine, with an annual volume of municipal solid waste (MSW) reaching 13 million tonnes, more than 95 per cent of it is sent to landfills and dumps. At that, according to the Sixth National Communication of Ukraine on Climate Change, 35-50 per cent of the MSW is composed of food waste. Lack of waste disposal facilities and poorly developed system of food recovery and redistribution, coupled with low awareness about the ways to reduce waste, all contribute to the extent and complexity of the problem of urban waste management in Ukraine.


To this end, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved a National Waste Management Strategy until 2030, incorporating the principles of the circular economy and those of food loss and waste (FLW) management hierarchy. According to the latter, recovery and redistribution of safe and nutritious food for direct human consumption is, after prevention at the source, the preferred option to waste treatment.


To support the Ukrainian government, FAO launched a pilot Project in two cities – Kyiv and Lviv. In particular, the Project team liaises with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and relevant City Administrations to facilitate the development of a strategy and an action plan for municipal food waste reduction in line with the FLW management hierarchy.


To date, the Project has commissioned a study into extent and causes of food loss and waste at the level of households, hotels, restaurants and catering businesses and retailers, as well as an analysis of the national legislation and policies. The obtained information will inform the development by FAO of a set of recommendations on municipal waste management, comprising also a list of interventions aimed to prevent and reduce waste in the food supply chain. Municipal food waste reduction strategy and an action plan will be developed.


The second phase of the project will focus on implementing targeted activities of the food loss and waste reduction strategy at various levels.


The Project is implemented by FAO in Ukraine with the support of the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, which is managing a comprehensive program on FLW reduction in the region as part of the Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction - SAVE FOOD.


Reducing food waste at schools through optimized processes and collaboration

International Food Waste Coalition developed a Collaboration Guide for all actors of school food value chains from farms to fork in school canteens which would help to:

  1. Optimize school catering: measuring and reducing food waste in kitchens and canteens, as well as improving meals.
  2. Promote collaboration between school catering stakeholders: connecting stakeholders, so they can work together to develop a more efficient and sustainable school food value chains and thereby reduce food waste at schools.

The IFWC Collaboration Guide comprises 20 good practices to help canteen and kitchen staff, teaching staff, local producers, local authorities, school management and the parents of students to work better together to reduce food waste.

You can find more information about the Guide and the associated tools here.


Guide for the establishment of food recovery and redistribution systems


Food Loss and Waste Team of the Regional FAO Office for Europe and Central Asia compiled a practical guide for the establishment of effective and sustainable food recovery and redistribution systems.


Today, large quantities of foods still fit for human consumption are discarded by businesses in the food sector due to packaging or quality issues, excess supply, consumption habits, etc. In many countries, donation of excess food to charitable organizations by food business operators is limited because of legal and other hurdles, including tax barriers, liability and date marking issues. An enabling regulatory and policy environment plays a very important role in supporting and implementing food recovery and redistribution operations from food business operators to food insecure people.


This guide was prepared in response to the growing demand in the region to support the development of policies and legislation promoting food redistribution as part of the countries’ national strategies for food loss and waste reduction. To this end, the document offers guiding principles and recommendations to policy-makers regarding implementation of a favourable regulatory and legal framework that facilitates food recovery and redistribution activities in their countries.


The recommendations are supported by examples of policy measures and legislative adjustments introduced in different countries, in particular in the European Union.


The document was shared with the relevant ministerial divisions and other stakeholders in the FAO target countries in Europe and Central Asia for consideration, discussion and identification of the most appropriate models for a food recovery and redistribution system, based on their specific needs and context.



Guide for the establishment of food recovery and redistribution systems


Fighting food waste together


FAO’s SAVE FOOD Initiative in Europe and Central Asia, and the International Food Waste Coalition will partner with Too Good To Go’s Movement against food waste to raise awareness of the consequences of wasting food and encourage more children and young people to value resources and thereby protect our planet.

Consumer behaviour is arguably one of the leading, albeit underlying, drivers of food waste in developed regions such as Europe, and steps to shift social norms and consumer attitudes are important. The education of future generation of consumers plays a critical role in this.

In line with its goal to inspire 500 schools all across Europe and using its experience of promoting and managing International education programmes, Too Good To Go will begin connecting schools and authorities to the “Do Good: Save Food!” series of teaching manuals, developed the FAO and the International Food Waste Coalition to influence and change the behaviour of school-age children and, through them, their families. The programme will launch in 2020, initially with a focus on the UK, France and Belgium.

Mette Lykke, CEO Too Good To Go: “At Too Good To Go we are committed to inspiring change at all levels, from consumers and businesses to students and politicians. Making the next generation aware of how food waste impacts climate change, and equipping them with the tools they need to fight it, is vital in securing the future we want for them. The 'Do Good: Save Food' initiative takes an engaging approach to education on food waste, encouraging behavioural change, and advising on concrete changes in ways that will resonate with all age ranges.”

Robert van Otterdijk, Agro-Industry Officer, FAO in Europe and Central Asia; Leader of the regional SAVE FOOD Initiative commented: “In the medium- and high-income countries, the efforts to reduce food waste at the producer and retail levels would be undermined if consumer education is not in place. Thus, teaching children – the consumers of tomorrow – about actions they can take and good habits that they can develop to reduce food waste will bring about the behavior change required to stem the problem now and in the future. Together with the International Food Waste Coalition we developed the “Do Good: Save Food! Materials to educate and, most importantly, empower young people to act differently.

The education package was tested in 18 schools in France, Italy, Belgium and the United Kingdom for two academic years during 2015 – 2017.

Thomas Candeal from the International Food Waste Coalition, who led and coordinated a testing of the programme, said that based on the pilot phase results, an education campaign may prompt a minimum of 15 per cent reduction in food waste. He added that engaging other actors of the school food value chain - food producers and suppliers, school kitchens and canteens, school management and municipalities - would further enhance the impact.

Food donation convoy carries record load on World Food Day


16 October 2019, Budapest, Hungary – Trucks loaded with 50 tonnes of food donations crossed the central Budapest on the occasion of the World Food Day. While helping Hungarian families in need, this join action of FAO and the Hungarian Foodbank Association aimed to call attention to the issue of food waste and the importance of healthy diets.

Achieving Zero Hunger is not only about nourishing people, but also nurturing the planet. This year, World Food Day calls for action across sectors to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible to everyone,” said Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative. He added that “reducing food loss and waste would contribute to achieving other important sustainable development targets, especially the ones relating to food security and environmental sustainability.”

The President of the Foodbank Association, Balazs Cseh, said: “The Foodbank wants to stress that we can only tackle food waste with authorities, private sector and civil society working closely together.

Altogether, 20 Hungarian and international food processors and retail companies, all partners of the Association, joined the convoy. Throughout the year, these companies donate surplus produce to the Foodbank for distribution among food insecure people.

Moving forward on food loss and waste reduction

14 October 2019, Rome Italy - Reducing food loss and waste is widely seen as an important way to increase the efficiency of the food system, improve food security and nutrition, and contribute towards environmental sustainability. Growing attention to this issue is reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many countries are already taking action to reduce food loss and waste, but the challenges ahead remain significant, and the efforts will only be effective if informed by a solid understanding of the problem.


This year’s the State of Food and Agriculture - one of FAO's major annual flagship publications offering a science-based assessments of important issues in the field of food and agriculture - focuses on food losses and waste. Importantly, the report provides new estimates of the world’s food loss, which indicates that globally – in terms of economic value – around 14 percent of food produced is lost from post-harvest up to the retail level.


The report also analyzes the critical loss points in specific supply chains, which is crucial to deciding on appropriate measures. Addressing policy makers, the document thus provides some guiding principles for designing more informed interventions and actions based on the objectives being pursued through food loss and waste reductions, be they in improved economic efficiency, food security and nutrition, or environmental sustainability.


Commenting on the launch of the State of Food and Agriculture, Qu Dongyu, FAO Director General, said: “This report examines the complex ways in which food loss and waste – and the measures taken to address it – affects food security and the environment. Among other things, it attempts to highlight precisely where there is a need for a more thorough understanding of the issues, both through more and better data and improved and expanded analysis. It is my hope that this report can make a contribution to the debate on how to address the problem of food loss and waste most effectively and in ways that actually make a difference in terms of improved food security and environmental sustainability, following the spirit of the 2030 Agenda”.


Hungarian NAIK presented findings on food loss and waste in processing sector


26 September 2019, Budapest, Hungary – Food loss and waste in a processing sector was at the focus of the conference organized by NAIK Research Institute of Agricultural Economics.

Robert van Otterdijk, Agro-Industry Officer at FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia and the Leader of the FAO-Messe Düsseldorf SAVE FOOD Initiative in the region, in his opening presentation, provided a global perspective on the issue. Van Otterdijk said that food loss during processing usually occurred due to an unintentional good damage or process interruptions. While over-production resulting from pressure to meet contractual requirements, in combination with cheap disposal alternatives lead to food waste.

Speaking about measures to reduce food loss and waste, Robert van Otterdijk noted: “In industrialized countries, solutions at the producer and industrial levels would only be marginal if consumer education and appropriate stock management at retail level is not in place. Moreover, government investment and policy support to facilitate market access for farmers and to provide an enabling environment for private sector investment are critical factors to significantly reduce food loss and waste.” 

Dr. Gyöngyi Kúrthy from NAIK Research Institute of Agricultural Economics presented results of the Institute’s research on causes, measurement and solutions to food loss and waste in a processing sector in Hungary. According to the research findings, food loss and waste is commonly perceived by companies as unavoidable during a technological process. At that, the research revealed that those processors who monitored and assessed the amount and value of losses were more cautious about the problem.

Among the obstacles to preventing and reducing food loss and waste, processors highlighted regulatory issues, market deficiency for by-products, lack of adequate chain-based cooperation between the actors and insufficient incentive to reduce losses. Surprisingly, more than half of the respondents considered mandatory requirements as an effective tool to tackling food loss and waste.

Considering the heavy reliance of food processors on policy-makers, Gyöngyi Kúrthy concluded that a significant reduction or improved utilisation of food loss and waste could be only achieved through a change of the regulation.

Children in Albania will learn to save food

August 2019, Albania - The “Do Good: Save Food!” package of education materials, developed jointly by FAO and IFWC, will be translated into Albanian language and used during the school year 2019 – 2020 to educate children in 100 primary and middle schools on the importance of preventing and reducing food waste.

This extensive educational effort will be undertaken by the Food Bank Albania, with which FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia developed strong collaboration during the still ongoing implementation of the SAVE FOOD Programme on Food Loss and Waste Reduction in the region, including in the Republic of Albania.

Food Bank Albania is a committed player in the local food system, with its mandate extending beyond food recovery and redistribution to public outreach and advocacy for food waste prevention and reduction through changes in legislation and enhancing understanding of the causes and impact of food loss and waste.

As in other countries in the region, food loss and waste in Albania have major implications on food nutrition and security; the problem also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and thereby has the negative effects of climate change. FAO is now working with four southeastern European countries to develop strategies for food loss and waste reduction.

Stakeholders in North Macedonia trained to assess environmental footprint of food VC

19 - 23 July, 2019, North Macedonia - As part of the implementation of FAO’s SAVE FOOD Programme on Food Loss and Waste Reduction in Europe and Central Asia, FAO Regional Office trained NGO Ajde Makedonija in the Republic of North Macedonia on a proprietary Ex-Ante Carbon-balance Tool for Value Chains (EX-ACT VC) used to assess the economic and environmental performance of food value chains.


FAO Regional Office in Europe and Central Asia works together with NGO Ajde Makedonija on an analytical research on food loss and waste in the most important value chains in North Macedonia, for which the FAO Food Loss Analysis: Causes and Solutions method is used. The research will identify the main causes of food losses in the selected value chains and analyze the impact of solutions to reduce food losses on their technical and economic feasibility, food quality and safety requirements, social acceptability and environmental sustainability. The application of the EX-ACT VC tool will strengthen the research methodology, with a more comprehensive evaluation of environmental and socio-economic aspects of food losses.

The research results will directly support the formulation and implementation of a food loss and waste reduction programme in the North Macedonia.

About EX-ACT VC:

EX-ACT VC is a multi-agent based tool appraising input supply, production, transport, processing and using numerous indicators. Being multi-impact designed, it gives performance on GHG emissions, economic return of climate mitigation, climate resilience, socio-economic performances and other environment indicators, like water and, energy use. The tool can be used either for the current situation of the chain, or for an upgrading project scenario. More on EX-ACT VC

FAO supports the reduction of food loss and waste in southeastern Europe

In Europe and Central Asia, and particularly in countries not part of the European Union, food loss and waste have major implications on food nutrition and security through inefficiencies in the food value chains. FAO is now working with four southeastern European countries to develop strategies for food loss and waste reduction. [read more]


Community of Practice on Food Loss and Waste in Europe and Central Asia established

A dedicated Community of Practice on Food Loss and Waste Reduction in Europe and Central Asia has been established under the regional SAVE FOOD Initiative of FAO and Messe Düsseldorf, to better respond to the needs of their partners in Europe and Central Asia.

The Community of Practice will provide a platform for live discussions, exchange of knowledge and sharing of good practices and solutions to reducing food loss and waste. By bringing together public and private sector, Academia, research institutions, NGOs and civil society that are involved in fighting against food loss and waste in Europe and Central Asia, the Community of Practice will help its members identify and create synergies, and thus facilitate collaboration for better-coordinated and more effective interventions in the region.

Being a member of the Community of Practice, you will be able to participate in online consultations, get in touch with other practitioners, exchange relevant information and contribute to building regional community aimed at reducing food losses and waste. Public or private sector player, you are welcome to join the Community.


FAO develops Code of Conduct on Food Loss and Food Waste Prevention

29 July 2019 - Upon request of the FAO Committee on agriculture (COAG), FAO commenced, in collaboration with relevant actors, the development of Voluntary Codes of Conduct for the reduction of food loss and waste, which shall be presented for endorsement at the 27th session of COAG in October 2020. 


To this end, FAO launched global e-consultation, inviting different actors in food value chain and food system stakeholders to provide suggestions and recommendations on the outline and content of the Code of Conduct. [read more]


Government and private sector discussed a roadmap on food loss and waste reduction in Moldova

12 June 2019, Chisinau, Moldova - FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia organized a consultation workshop, where key government officials, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment, Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, the National Food Safety Agency, representatives of the private sector and research, discussed and agreed on a national strategic approach to food loss and waste reduction in the country. The workshop was carried out under the FAO’s Regional Technical Cooperation Project "Strategies for Food Loss and Waste Reduction". [read more]

FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Turkey promote food waste on the agenda

4 April 2019, Ankara, Turkey – Representatives from private sector, civil society, academia and business associations gathered for second time in Ankara to discuss the causes of food waste and possible solutions to stem the issue, being a part of the “SAVE YOUR FOOD” campaign.


The workshop was organized by FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of the Republic of Turkey in the context of the “SAVE YOUR FOOD” campaign, which was launched under the umbrella of FAO’s SAVE FOOD Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. The campaign aims to increase awareness about the issue, manifest Turkey’s commitment to end food loss and waste and to reinstate the Technical Platform on the Measurement and Reduction of Food Loss and Waste. [read more

Roadmap for food loss and waste reduction validated in Armenia

27 February 2019, Yerevan - Some 40 participants gathered today to discuss and validate a strategic roadmap for food loss and waste prevention and reduction in Armenia that was developed on the basis of participants’ recommendations and the results of the field studies. 

The workshop is part of an FAO project facilitating reduction of food loss and waste in Armenia, Albania, Moldova and the Republic of North Macedonia. This ultimate goal should lessen Armenia’s contribution to climate change and the pressure on national food systems for increased production. [read more]

MEPs support FAO’s education programme on food waste prevention

21 February 2019, Brussels - Today, a roundtable was assembled under the auspices of the European Parliamentary Alliance on the Fight against Hunger and the European Parliament (EP) Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development” to draw attention to political and moral responsibility to reduce food waste and to call for immediate action. The roundtable focused on the importance and the transformative potential of educating and engaging children – future consumers – in food waste prevention, thus, leading to behavioral change across generations.


In this regard, the education package “Do good: Save food!”, developed by FAO together with the International Food Waste Coalition (IFWC), was presented. [read more]

FAO called for a stronger action against food loss and waste at a conference in Moscow

Moscow, January 2019 - FAO Liaison Office with Russian Federation and Messe Düsseldorf – which together with FAO established SAVE FOOD Initiative in 2011 - organised a conference on “What Does it Cost to Save Food” in Moscow on 29 January 2019. 

Objective of the conference was to draw attention of the Russian government and private sector to the problems of food losses and waste (FLW) in the country and to share the world’s best examples of national strategies and programs to tackle the issue.

With Russia’s commitment to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the conference participants agreed that efforts should be enhanced at all levels to achieve the Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which calls on to halve food waste and reduce food loss by 2030, taking into account national capacities and realities. [read more]

FAO expert addresses students in Krasnodar and Moscow on Food Loss and Waste

Moscow, November 2018 - Robert van Otterdijk, Agro-industry Officer, FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, delivered two lectures this week on “Food Waste during Food Processing and the Re-Use of Food Rest Products” at two Russian universities. On 21 November, he addressed audiences at Kuban Agricultural University in the Southern Russian city of Krasnodar, and the following day he spoke at Timiryazev Agricultural Academy in Moscow. [read more]

FAO Experts Evaluate Food Loss and Waste in Georgia

Georgia, May 2017 - Exchanging experience and information on food loss and waste reduction in Georgia was the main objective of the stakeholders’ consultation workshop held on 24 May 2017 in Tbilisi. The workshop was organized by the European Union (EU) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) within the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). The government representatives and ENPARD stakeholders attended the event. [read more]

FAO and the Retail Companies’ Association of Russia (ACORT) hold a roundtable on tackling FLW

Moscow, 31 January 2017 - A roundtable centered on addressing the challenge of food loss and waste reduction in different subsectors of the Russian economy was held at the UN House in Moscow. The event, co-organized by the FAO Liaison Office in Moscow (FAOLOR) and the Retail Companies’ Association of Russia (ACORT), gathered representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor), the Consumers, Fish and Dairy Unions, Foodbank "RUS" Charitable Foundation, METRO Cash & Carry, and other private enterprises [read more]

Official launch of SAVE FOOD Initiative in Russia

2017 - FAO Liaison Office with the Russian Federation has teamed up with Messe Dusseldorf Moscow to organize a special event at the “Upakovka-2017” Processing and Packaging Industry Trade Fair, member of the Interpack Alliance. On top of the Upakovka event, on 31 January 2017 the FAO Liaison Office, together with the Retail Companies’ Association of Russia (AKORT), is organizing a round-table on the FLW reduction agenda in Russia. The roundtable will convene representatives of private companies and their associations and will serve as a basis for the development of a white paper on the issue of FLW for Russian government agencies [read more]

How a Russian farmers' cooperative tries to save food

2016: LavkaLavka is a Moscow-based farmers' cooperative that was established in order to provide Russian farmers with an opportunity to sell their produce. In 2009 the company's founder Boris Akimov, a popular journalist and artist, started a blog where he posted stories about farms and farmers and offered his readers to buy their produce. The demand was so strong that he soon opened an online store. Today LavkaLavka unites more than 200 farms throughout Russia. The cooperative has opened 5 retail stores in Moscow, a big farmers' market, an online store, two farmers’ cafes and two farmers’ restaurants [read more]

FAO Regional Conference for Europe (ERC) Side Event

Regional Conference for Europe (ERC) Side Event

Antalya, Turkey, 4 - 6 May, 2016 - CFS held two plenary sessions since the last Regional Conferences met. In line with its role in global policy convergence CFS endorsed the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI) and the Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises (CFS-FFA). Policy recommendations were made on the basis of the three reports produced by the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE): Food Losses and Waste in the Context of Sustainable Food Systems; Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition; and Water for Food Security and Nutrition. The Committee organized a High-Level Forum on Connecting Smallholders to Markets. Its outcomes were presented to the CFS Plenary together with identified areas to be further addressed by CFS.

29th Regional Conference for Europe

2014: paper “Food Losses and Waste in Europe and Central Asia” discussed at the Ministerial Roundtable during the 29th Regional Conference for Europe

Campaign on Preventing Bread Waste in Turkey

2013 - in January 2013 the Turkish Grain Board and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock together with relevant stakeholders launched the Campaign on Preventing Bread Waste.
Source: Turkish Grain Board and FAO, 2014

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