October 25, 2020

Oriol Reull: “Spain throws eight million kilos of food a year into the trash”



Oriol Reull is an expert in sustainable food and the director of ‘Too Good To Go’ in Spain, a movement that fight against food waste Through a mobile ‘app’: the user receives a surprise package made up of the leftover food from an establishment at cheaper prices.

-Today is the first International Day against food waste. Why are we not aware of the problem?

-I think it is about understanding the consequences of waste. We have seen it in recent years with plastic, something we were not aware of. Now it’s about doing the same, and the key is information and education. If we teach someone what the consequences of throwing a kiwi have on the planet, they will probably not do it again.

-The consequences of throwing a kiwi?

-Food waste accounts for 10% of all CO² emissions Worldwide. The UN and other organizations have declared that fighting waste is one of the simplest ways to avoid climate change.

-The movement was born in Denmark in 2016 and arrives in Spain in 2018. How has it been received?

-We arrived in September 2018 and it has a very good reception, perhaps because of the love we have for food and the proximity to food production. The data, as of today, reflect a lot of impact: more than one and a half million meals saved, almost two million registered users in Spain and more than 5,000 establishments that every day fight against waste together with Too Good To Go.

-What about Aragon?

-We have a hundred establishments and we grow fast; we now have one person working full time in the community. We have saved more than 20,000 meals since we arrived in Aragon about a year ago.

-Talk about the Mediterranean diet model. What does it mean for the project?

-It affects in a very positive way. We are much closer to production and, therefore, we know the consequences of throwing food away because that is how we have experienced it. Although it is true that we are not the best of the class: Spain is the seventh country in the EU that wastes the most food. This translates into eight million kilos of food that end up in a garbage can every year. There is so much to do.

-Does the data refer to the hotel trade and commerce or does it also include households?

-Households take 50% of the pie in food waste. There is a very important role in raising awareness and education that we must do at home. Like nobody leaves home and leaves the lights on we have to ensure that no fruit, vegetable or product ends up in a garbage can.

-How has the pandemic affected the solution of the problem?

-A large part of the waste generated in homes comes from the fact that we have a faster and more volatile pace of life. If we plan a healthy purchase, we end up changing plans. During confinement the opposite happened. We had time to cook and what we bought, we consumed. The direct impact was a reduction in waste.

-You spoke to me before about the unknown that has always haunted you: how will we feed the world’s population in 2050?

-I have sometimes believed that it was about producing more and more efficiently, but I realized the importance of waste. Just reducing it by 25% We could feed the world’s population in 2050.

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