The European Union has responded to the major challenge presented by food waste in a number of ways, including policies on bio-waste management, resource efficiency and circular economy.

FUSIONS is currently working on enhancing knowledge on EU policies by reviewing EU and national policies on food waste and policy support to social innovation initiatives.


A) EU food waste policy framework

  • EU Policy on bio-waste management

In May 2010, the European Commission released a Communication on bio-waste management in the EU, including recommendations on managing bio-waste such as encouraging the usage of separate collection as well as laying out the future planned steps on the part of the EC for addressing bio-waste in the EU.

The key tenets of EC future action related to bio-waste include:

- Encouragement of prevention of bio-waste,

- Treatment of bio-waste according to the waste hierarchy,

- Protection of EU soils via a focus on compost and digestate,

- Investment in research and innovation and,

- Putting more efforts to reinforce the full implementation of the existing set of EU waste legislation.

  • EU Policy on Resource Efficiency

The Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe sets out a 50% food waste reduction target for 2020.

Furthermore, early in 2012, a 50% prevention target on avoidable food waste by 2025 was proposed by the European Parliament, who presented 2014 as the European Year against Food Waste. The European Commission has launched a working group on food losses and food waste assembling a variety of food chain, animal and plant health stakeholders.

Finally, the EC developed a webpage aimed towards EU consumers providing basic information on the causes of food waste, tips for preventing food waste, and information on the quantity and impacts of food waste in the EU and globally.

  • EU Policy on Circular Economy

As part of the Circular Economy package, the European Commission adopted in July 2014 a Communication and a legislative proposal to review recycling and other waste-related targets in the EU. This legislative proposal consists of six pieces of legislation: waste (including food waste), packaging, landfill, end of life vehicles, batteries and accumulators, and waste electronic equipment.

In particular, the draft legislation sets a 30% food waste reduction target for Member states between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2025. However, the Package was withdrawn from the executive’s work programme in December 2014. A more ambitious proposal is expected on December 2nd.


B) FUSIONS current work on Policy

Since 2012, FUSIONS has been working on food waste policy in the EU and Member States:

  • Review of current EU legislation and policies with implications on food waste (published in June 2015)

The report used a mix of qualitative methodologies (literature review, expert consultation, inventory of policies, surveys, policy impact assessment) to review the state of EU legislative and policy tools with implications for food waste. Policy measures address a wide range of topics and include animal by-products, feedstuffs, hygiene rules, marketing standards, packaging, Eco-label criteria, VAT, statistics. These policy measures impact (negatively or positively) on food waste in five different ways: by implying food waste generation, or addressing food waste management, food waste reduction, food use optimization, or a combination of these implications. The study also proposes an assessment of challenges and opportunities of current EU legislation and policies with implications on food waste.

  • Inventory and analysis of current legislation and policies impacting food waste generation

This report was published as MS country reports and submitted to public consultation until mid-December 2015.  The EU-28 Country Reports Consultation aims specifically at updating and integrating the concept version of the country reports about national food waste legislation as developed in the framework of FUSIONS T3.1b (“Inventory and analysis of current legislation and policies impacting food waste generation”). Data was gathered in EU Member and Associated States covered by the consortium, drawing on existing literature and publicly available information.

  • Stimulating social innovation through policy measures (published in July 2014)

The study highlights social benefits associated to tackling food waste through social innovation, from reducing social isolation to improving access to nutritious food. The report provides an assessment of the types of policy activities undertaken by the EU to stimulate and advance social innovation, following the categorization of policy instruments (provided by Gupta J et al, 2013): suasive approaches, regulatory approaches, market based instruments, public provision of services.

Ongoing studies:

  • Study on socio-economic policy incentives
  • Food waste Evaluation Framework
  • Scenario Analysis


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 311972.
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