Staggering holiday waste

Editorial Staff
January 13, 2011

While many people complain of having eaten too much over the holidays, according to a recent study by the Italian agricultural confederation (Cia), 25 million tons of edible goods are thrown out every year in Italy, worth a total of 37 billion dollars.   During the winter holidays, 25 percent of the food purchased for the holidays, that is, 500 thousand tons or 1.5 billion euro worth of holiday food, is incinerated annually. The ‘most wasted' foods, according to Cia, are milk, eggs, cheese, meat, bread, produce and pasta.

‘This is all due to bad habits, which, despite the crisis, persist,' remarked a Cia representative. The largest proportion of food waste occurs during Christmas, between December 24 and 26, representing upwards of 50 euro of waste per family on average. The next most wasteful period is that between Christmas and Epiphany, when 165 tons of food are thrown out, representing just under 30 euro of waste per family. Adding to the data is expired food discarded before even reaching the table, by stores, cafeterias, homes and restaurants nationwide.

According to Cia, each Italian family throws out about 515 euro worth of food annually, representing 10 percent of monthly grocery spending. However, Italians are most efficient with desserts and spirits: desserts represent only 4 percent of total waste, while alcohol represents less than 1 percent.



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