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Responsible waste food management in Serbia

  • Published on February 17, 2023

Framework conditions for increasing the rate of food waste recycling in the Republic of Serbia have been improved.

The project contributed to the achievement of reducing food waste (goal 12.3) of SDG 12. There is a special connection with SDG 12 in "doing more and better with less" which requires a "systemic approach and cooperation between the actors operating in the supply chain, from the producer to the final consumer. It involves engaging consumers through awareness-raising and education on sustainable consumption and lifestyles, providing consumers with adequate information through standards and labels, and engaging in sustainable public procurement“ the projects’ aim is primarily to ensure that all actors in the waste management chain raise the awareness level, understand and act to fulfill the objective defined by the Serbian legal frame.

According to estimates, about 247 thousand tons of edible food are wasted in Serbia annually, about 30-40 kg per capita. Households, catering, and retail sectors are the largest waste food generators.

It is estimated that the domestic hospitality sector annually generates around 40,000 tons of food waste.

It is estimated that up to 99% of this waste ends up in landfill, where it emits greenhouse gases, in a total amount of about 28,000 tons of CO2 equivalent.

The project developed Awareness raising strategy for the producers of food waste by defining the goals of the campaign, key messages, and target groups to be addressed through the campaign. Strategy was aimed at raising awareness of the importance of adequate treatment of food waste, promoting collection and management of food waste, reducing the amount of organic waste that ends up in landfills and highlighting the benefits of collecting food waste as a resource for biogas production. Target groups were, in the first place, large food waste generators (restaurants, mega markets, public institutions with their own kitchens), but also the general public (citizens and households). In order to improve knowledge of waste generators for sustainable food management, the project also developed a manual for proper food waste management. Also, other activities were conducted such as challenge to collect 1000 tonnes of waste in order to save 750 tonnes of CO2 emissions, as one of the most successful initiatives within the project. All these activities significantly contribute not only to the raised awareness, but also to the changing of the producers' and consumers' behavior changes and the introduction of sustainable management practices such as separate food waste disposal and collection.

Cost savings as estimated at up to 10-20% of the total project cost as indirect savings from diverting waste from landfills and avoidance of CO2 emissions.

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