The food waste ban just introduced in France has made waves across the world, sparking a debate over whether other countries should follow suit. The UK has a ‘Food Waste (Reduction) Bill’ in the pipeline that would soon enforce similar measures; currently, there is no legal requirement for British supermarkets to donate unsold food to charity, and the UK still dumps 14 million tonnes of food a year, more than any other country in the European Union.
What about New Zealand, then?
Major Kiwi supermarket chains agreed on saying that there is no need for a ban in New Zealand, because waste management systems are already in place; sustainability, they added, translates into better performances, so it is also in supermarkets’ best interest to avoid waste. According to Foodstuffs’ spokeswoman Katherine Klouwens, Pak’nSave and New World stores have a recycling rate of 80 percent on average. On its part, Countdown has activated a Food Rescue programme with several community charity partners to donate both perishable and non-perishable foods. Last year, the retail chain was able to collect and donate over $3.5 million of food.
So far the system seemed to be effective, but some—like Matthew Luxon of RubbishFree.co.nz—believe there would still be room for improvement and urged the Government to intervene.