(Photo: Borna Filic/PIXSELL) (Photo: Borna Filic/PIXSELL)

The Center for the Prevention of Food Waste is conducting a campaign, Food Is Not Waste, in an effort to reduce the amount of food Croatians throw away each year. According to the head of the center, Barbara Ilakovac, Croatians throw away around 380 thousand tons of food annually. According to research conducted in Croatia on a sample of 350 people, non-edible food waste accounts for only 11 percent of all food that is discarded. Fruits and vegetables comprise the bulk of food that is thrown away, around 45 percent, followed by baked goods, around 9 percent. The least frequently discarded foods are fish, 3 percent, and sweets, around 2 percent.

The campaign was launched at Zagreb’s Dolac farmer’s market. The center has a booth there where the public can find leaflets about recycling, proper food storage, and planning food purchases all with the goal of reducing the amount of wasted food.

Ilakovac says informing and educating the public are extremely important in the fight to reduce food waste because in terms of amounts, in both the EU and Croatia, households are responsible for the largest share.

Public awareness about recycling in Croatia is low and food waste makes up a large share of the garbage that is collected. Fifty-three percent of wasted food is produced by households,” Ilakovac says.
She also advises not to shop for food when one is hungry because that often results in excessive purchases and that extra food ends up in garbage instead of being put to good use.

“Because of its composition and the decomposition process, this kind of waste releases large amounts of methane gas, which is extremely bad for the environment. It is very important for us to reduce the amount of waste we create and prevention and redistribution of surpluses play a big part in that and are something that is recommended by the European hierarchy of food waste management,” Ilakovac said.