The Malta Independent 25 February 2020, Tuesday

‘Tkunx Basla’: Stop food waste campaign launched by General Workers Union

Friday, 7 February 2020, 15:31 Last update: about 18 days ago

The General Workers Union (GWU) today launched ‘StopWaste’ campaign, a campaign which will run throughout 2020, with the aim to raise awareness on reducing food consumption and stop food wastage. The campaign will also be presented abroad in a seminar regarding circular economy.

Many times we do not realise the amount of waste generated when we waste and throw away food, Secretary General Josef Bugeja said. “It is not just about the waste of food or money, but when we throw away food, the food releases chemical gases into the air which also affect our climate and environment,” Bugeja said. The campaign is to promote the safeguarding of the environment, to avoid unnecessary waste, not just waste of food and money, but also waste having a direct impact on the environment.

“We wish to educate the people, and our workers to improve their lifestyles; we might not manage to educate the whole population, but those who realise and do their part, I believe we will all make a difference,” said Bugeja. He said that GWU is conscious of the hard work environmental NGO’s have put in promoting such awareness, and the union wishes to participate in this promotion and help spread the message.

The campaign will run throughout the whole year, through the use of posters displaying catchy phrases regarding food waste. The posters are both in English and Maltese and will be promoted both through social media, newspapers and European forums which GWU form part of. The campaign is collaboration between GWU and Reggie Miller Foundation. “We want to highlight the importance of reducing our waste, and ideally reflect on how previous generations would ensure to not waste any food and that everyone does their part,” explain Bugeja.

Pauline Fenech, director of studies of Reggie Miller Foundation expressed that the campaign is to have a ripple effect on society; as both young and old are to learn more about reducing food consumption and food waste. “It is important to understand how our food is produced and that to simply produce half a kilo of meat, 1,650 tonnes of water are used. Now imagine, when you throw away that piece of meat, you are wasting so much resources,” Fenech said. She explained that the campaign is to raise awareness, even by carrying out small changes that could in the long run help the environment.

Bugeja explained that the campaign will also be showcased abroad during a seminar on circular economy. Circular economy is an alternative to a traditional liner economy; in which the economy keeps resources in use for as long as possible and extracts the maximum value from them whilst in use.

During the seminar, members of the GWU will be presenting the campaign to raise awareness on food waste, especially since the European Union still has no solid legislations on food waste. Currently there are a number of papers on the concept of reducing food waste, but as of yet there are no concrete legislations as to how to improve the situation for the future.

Jonathan Spiteri, lecturer from University of Malta emphasised that whilst reducing food waste is a priority in the European Union, there is not enough awareness on the issue. “We see a lot of PR on plastic and the damage plastic has on our environment, but there is not enough PR on food waste,” said Spiteri. He said that the campaign will push this awareness on food waste and hopefully will push the discussion further to create a concrete way forward on the issue.


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