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Principle: prevention is necessary as much as donating

 

 

 

The originality of the project A Good Opportunity lies in the new way to approach the fight against food waste. Normally we pay attention to the allocation of surpluses to subtract them from trash and give them to the food banks or charitable organizations.

 

The idea, as a basis for A Good Opportunity, is instead to focus on the causes that contribute to create the surplus, trying to prevent it. For instance, if the separate refuses collection is a useful activity and worthy of great consideration, even more incisive are all the initiatives aimed at reducing the amount of waste. The same goes for food waste: it is important to be able to limit the total amount of the surplus, considering that it will always remain a large amount of it to be used for charitable purposes.

 

 

 

 

French law n. 138 February 11, 2016 is the first law in the world about the fight against food waste, where the prevention is the primary action to do (art. 1).

 

Source: LOI n° 2016-138 du 11 février 2016 relative à la lutte contre le gaspillage alimentaire

 

 

 

 

The heart: the deceptive myth of the expiry date

 

 

 

 

One of the most important causes of food surplus lies in the wrong way in which the expiry dates are interpreted and used. We wanted to check with a statistical survey (with a sample of 1,200 families) how much consumers effectively know about the meaning of the wording to 'use by… date' and 'best before'. The result is a depressing picture. The first goal we set for ourselves, therefore, is to clarify thus helping to discredit the myth of expiry date as an absolute discrimination line between what is good up to a certain date, and then all of a sudden, it no longer is.

The importance that, even subconsciously, is attributed to expiry dates appears exaggerated. Just think of the widespread habit of choosing, while shopping, the packs with the most distant expiry date, to the detriment of those with a shorter one; or the widespread conviction that  food can’t be consumed on the day of expiration written on the package because it has already gone bad; or even to neglect the inscription ‘best before’  throwing the food anyway.

In order to demonstrate how these behaviours are irrational and unjustified, we did laboratory tests to attest the evolution of microbiological, organoleptic and sensory characteristics of some products during their entire shelf life and the results have confirmed that the passage of time does not cause significant alterations.

That is why A Good Opportunity wants to encourage the practice of promoting the sales of food close to their use-by date. Many people believe these products are ‘second rate merchandise’, which supermarkets want to get rid of at the consumers’ expense, when in fact they are as good as the others. Moreover, this would allow to achieve two main results, both remarkable and virtuous: the distribution companies could reduce the stock of unsold goods and consumers could save their money.

 

 

 

 

 

CONTINGENCY: THE CRISIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO RETHINK

 

 

It is A Good Opportunity also because the crisis with the sacrifices involved, allows you to easily perceive how waste, defined as destruction of resources without any benefit from them, is in it self a fall in value, something that has to be avoided anyway.

However, it cannot be ignored the fact that some people, not with standing the economic crisis, perceive waste as a way to display their wealth, to gratify themselves thinking: ‘I squander because I can afford it’.



It was no coincidence when the then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared unacceptable that in Britain about a thirdof food production ended in the trash, he was hit by a wave of criticism. Members of the media and ordinary citizens debated that, at least wherever property is warranted, those who buy food must be free to do with it what they like.



We believe citizens have not only rights but must also be aware of their duties and responsibilities about the environmental, ethical and social after-effects of waste. To the same conclusion (avoid wasting) should get those who, exclusively thinking in utilitarian terms, must realize thatavoid wasting actually meanssaving money.

 

 

 

 

In the European Union every person wastes more than 179 pounds of food each year.

Source: EU Commission

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