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Daily Bread: Why Do Poles Throw Away Food?

© Photo : PixabayToasted bread
Toasted bread - Sputnik International
The Polish Ministry of Environment is now preparing its own project for the struggle to save food products. How can citizens themselves help in this mission? Sputnik correspondent Grażyna Garboś discussed the issue with the initiator of the project “Share Food With the Homeless,” Maria Skołożyńska.

Poles throw away about 9 million tons of food products each year, according to data given by the Ministry of Environment. A family of four people wastes an average of 2,5 million zlotys (about 600 euro) in purchases of excess foodstuffs. This is despite the fact that according to the Polish Federation of Food Banks, about 2 million people in Poland live in conditions of extreme poverty. Moreover, this is not only a problem for Poland: on average, 90 million tons of food is wasted each year EU-wide.

Sputnik: Why did we stop valuing food products?

Maria Skołożyńska: I think the reason why every third Pole throws away food is the fact that formerly people had very little food and tried to save every crumb. Nowadays, the food products became more affordable and we gave up reflecting over whether we are able to eat all this food or not. If we cannot eat it, then we throw it away and buy some more. Especially with promotions of two-for-one products, we buy more than we are able to consume. It would be great if throwing out a piece of bread takes more effort than purchasing a new loaf of it.

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Besides, maybe we are not able and don’t know how to keep food products. For example, here in Poland we do not control expiry dates of products. In the West, I mean in Britain, people are following up the principle: the product saves its best quality till the certain date; after the expiration period it can also be consumed, but its appearance will not be as attractive as it was at the beginning. It makes sense, because, for example, a brown banana is not spoiled. Unfortunately, now people tend to buy and consume only those products that look presentable. Thus the fresh products that don’t have an ideal look do not appear on the shelves.

Sputnik: Are there any other campaigns being run in Poland?

Maria Skołożyńska: Yes, there is an initiative called “Foodsharing.” These are open to all fridges, where everyone can leave the excess food during the year. It looks like this: check the location of the fridge, pack the food in a disposable bag, put the packed food in the fridge and inform Foodsharing about it (the contact information is on each fridge). Foodsharing then disseminates information among those who are in need and informs them where they can pick up the food for free. The campaign already covers the entire country. I am very proud that these projects are working and that we are helping people!

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