Garbage and waste: EU launched a consumption guide

The Christmas dinners and celebrations are coming up, leftovers and food waste as well. Every year Europe produces 3 billion tons of waste, 16 tons per person.

REUTERS/Pichi Chuang REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

However, with the proper application of the EU directives on this matter 400,000 jobs could be created by 2020 and 72 million of euros in savings. Considering the year 2010, Eurostat data affirms that the waste generated by economic activities and families reached 2506 million of tons.

English families the most prodigal

The most prodigal are English families. Families in the UK discard up to 25% of the food they purchase. According to a report of the European Environment Agency, Austria, Germany, and Belgium achieved the highest recycling rates. Less than one fourth of food that goes to waste in EU alone could save 805 million people suffering from the hunger in the world.

A EU guide against the food waste and garbage

In the last weeks the EU launched a consumption guide with the campaign “Generation Awake” of the European Commission to learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. Quite often we have eyes bigger than our stomach and that is why a lot of food is disposed of at the end. To avoid this phenomenon, it is possible to use up meal leftovers creatively, and compost the rest. For example: use overripe tomatoes to make tomatoes sauce, and soups. Every time a bottle of drinks is emptied in the washbowl, waste is not only the liquid but also the whole production process of that bottle (the energy and water used for the cultivations, for the treatments needed for the drinks etc..). To reduce the waste of drinks, the guide suggests preparing drinks in the quantities that are supposed to be consumed (especially regarding tea and coffee, for which are needed multiple sources), buying concentrate drinks as these keep longer compared to other relatively fresh products, and for example using extra wine in the preparation of meals to add taste .

For a bottle of plastic it is needed one fourth of oil

The plastic waste are around the 25.1 million tons, the increase was more than 2.4% in 2010. In 2011, the recycling of plastic waste reached 60% and it seems this rate is on an increasing trend. A good eco-friendly practice would be drink the water from the tube or filter the water in a carafe before drinking if necessary, alternatively buy always the biggest bottle of water so that the number of bottles for the same quantity consumed is reduced.

Since 2002 the life of a mobile phone is limited to 18 months

In the age of iPhones and smartphones, mobile that get larger, and the trend to always have the latest versions, under the Christmas tree could appear the umpteenth mobile. Every year, 320 tons of gold and 7,500 tons of silver are used for global production of mobiles, computers and other various electronic products. 41 old mobiles are needed to extract one gram of gold. The guide suggests locating electronic recycling sites to discard of electronic equipment.

Water consumption

Globally one fifth of the world population lives in areas of water scarcity, there is enough water in the planet to support the current population of 7 billions, but it is distributed unevenly. The jet of water from a powerful shower consumes more water than a bath tub full of water. An eco-friendly solution is using a model with a lower flow rate, turn off the tap while putting the shampoo or shower gel, reduce the shower time . Five minutes of a shower each day instead of a bath save 400 litres of water a week (


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