FAQ (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)

About Food Circle and Zero Food Waste

Image by Silvestri Matteo

What's Our mission?

What is the problem with Food Waste?

We are throwing away about a third of the generated food, according to the FAO. Meanwhile, many people are starving and struggling for a quality meal. We not only harm ourselves but are also responsible for consequential biodiversity loss and more greenhouse gas destroying our planet.  Food Waste causes and further increases social inequalities, destroys the environment, not only during the process of disposal, but with the resources used for production and over-supply as well. The social, environmental, ecological and political consequences resulting from our food wastage are damaging and in urgent need of change and improvement. 

How do we tackle food waste?

Similar to the individual being limited in achieving environmental change, we are too. We have a mission to create a collective of eager organizations to realize a better future. We are still able to act. We can walk different paths. Let’s use opportunities that open up like composting instead of burning waste to produce “black gold” (=soil), not methane and other harmful gas. 

We just launched two projects to become more self-sustainable and to have a positive impact: Our Compost book and Zero Waste Card Game are created to raise awareness and inspire.

 

Food Circle is a network of food surplus organizations in the Netherlands. We facilitate collaboration and offer services to increase our collective positive impact. We are backed and supported by our mother company, Sapient Social & Environmental Enterprises. We also have our own events and projects to keep us self-sustainable.

What current projects are there?

The projects that we just launched and we are very proud of are the Zero Waste Chef Card Game and Eartha’s Compost booklet. Both are designed to increase the awareness of the necessity and urgency of reducing food waste. With the Zero Waste Chef Card game you can learn to reduce food waste at home,which is still the major wastage location, in a fun and entertaining way.

The Vermicomposting booklet shows how easy and fun vermicomposting is and how you can also do it in your home. Composting and Vermicomposting are reducing our harmful environmental impact immensely and easily.

Which of the UN SDG’s aligns with the mission and vision of the Food Circle ?

We align with the missions of Zero Hunger, responsible consumption and production, as well as climate action. We aim for a world with less food waste, no hunger, considerate and appropriate consumption and production. Our main mission guiding us is to reduce our negative harmful impact on the environment and prevent further climate change. We support the UN aims to achieve change.

Image by Chang Duong

who are we?

Image by Shane Rounce

Who is the team?

We are a team of eager people from all over the world, believing in the opportunity for change.

 

You can head over to our Social Media channels to meet our team or have a look at the section on this website to learn more about who we are.

What are some of Food circles’ solutions to food surplus/waste/loss? 

With our two projects, Zero Waste Chef Card Game and Eartha’s Compost Soup, we tackle food waste through spreading awareness and inspiring. Food waste reduction is easier than it seems and we want to show the many possible ways.

Therefore, additionally, we have three blog series informing and discussing sustainable and food waste related matters: Let’s be honest, Food Waste Around the World and Faces of Food Waste.

Our current project tries to connect markets and stores in the Netherlands by working together to reduce food wastage.

Image by Markus Spiske

What can I do
to support the mission?

How can I support Food Circle and the mission?

Thank you for being with us on this important matter. We can only achieve change and our aims because of people like you supporting us. 

You can help us in various ways:

 

Follow us on Social Media and help increase our impact. 

Instagram:

@food.circle.ams

@zerowastechefcardgame

Facebook:

@FoodCircleAms

LinkedIn:

Food Circle Amsterdam

Another way is of course to support and purchase our projects. You will learn to decrease your food wastage at home and how to compost and use the waste that is unavoidable in a more environmentally friendly way through vermicomposting.

Collaborate and support us on our mission! We are always trying to increase our network and aim for increasing awareness and our reach through connecting with other same-minded companies and organizations.

If you are seeking an interesting and amazing internship, apply to our open positions and become part of our amazing family.

How do I become a zero waste champion?

There are many ways decreasing your negative harmful impact:

You can purchase our products and learn how to easily set up your vermicomposting kit at home, and learn how to reduce food waste in your household in a playful and fun way.

You can follow us on Social Media:

Instagram:

@food.circle.ams

@zerowastechefcardgame

Facebook:

@FoodCircleAms

LinkedIn:

Food Circle Amsterdam

One of the most effective ways to reduce food wastage and take better care of your health, is to consume locally and seasonal grown and produced products. 

To further engage and establish the circular food production and supply model, aiming for the “farm to fork” strategy saves the planet and a lot of money for you.

Become part of our network! Just contact on Social Media via our Mail to become partners and unite on this matter.

Read our blog series and get informed on the issue of food waste and the many ways for you to reduce the wastage. Additionally, we discuss difficulties and how to deal with them in regards to a more sustainable lifestyle and share tipps and tricks in the articles, as well as on our Social Media channels. Get informed and become a member of the Sustainability Club!

How we reduced food waste to zero?

What is the meaning of Zero Food Waste?

Zero Food Waste is a conscious effort to develop a circular food economy, curb greenhouse gas emissions and invest in food systems, in such a way that both nature and people can thrive.

Zero food waste is both the protection of food and resources, and additionally the stages of production, consumption and recycling.

What are the general strategies for reducing food waste to zero?

We can reduce food waste to zero if we apply design thinking in every stage of food supply chain and also develop strategies on how to repurpose excess food. Mostly importantly, encourage people to patronize in season foods and ingredients.

There are five general ways to Reduce Large-Scale Food Waste: Feed hungry people, Feed Animals, Industrial Uses, Composting, A Look Ahead. Additionally, the recovery of food products, packaging, and materials, avoiding incineration and pollution where possible is an important secondary goal of food waste reduction.

What methods are used to reduce student food waste and the school environment?

We have summarized here are some easy actions you can take to reconnect to food and what it stands for:

1. Adopt a healthier, more sustainable diet

2. Buy only what you need

3. Pick ugly fruit and vegetables

4. Store food wisely

5. Understand food labeling

6. Love your leftovers

7. Put your food waste to use

8. Respect food

9. Support local food producers

10. Keep fish populations afloat

11. Use less water

12. Keep our soils and water clean

13. Eat more pulses and veggies

14. Sharing is caring

It’s up to us to change our habits to make not wasting food a way of life!

You can read more about each tip here:

15 quick tips for reducing food waste and becoming a Food hero | FAO Stories | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

What is the Zero Waste Chef Game?

In Food Circle, one of our creative projects that we are proud of is the Zero Waste Chef Game.  Cooking with leftovers is done using simple recipes and in combination with ideation and creativity in the composition of ingredients. This is done with the aim of producing a healthy and balanced diet with regard to a sustainable diet.

For more information, refer to the following link: ZERO WASTE CHEF | FoodCircle 

What strategies do you suggest to reduce food waste everyday?

Tips for at home:

 

1. Plan your meals

2. Use your leftovers

3. Know your dates: “use by” informs about food safety and “best before” informs about food quality

4. Grab a smaller plate and refill as needed

5. Freeze! (ready-made portions)

6.  Store food properly (check the labels for storage instructions, make sure your fridge is between 1° and 5°C)

7. Know what is in your pantry and fridge

8.  Rotate food stored at home: first in, first out

 

Tips for at the shop or market:

 

1. Write a shopping list

2. Don’t shop when hungry

3. Buy only the quantity you need (the right packaging size or loose foods)

4. Choose imperfect fruit and veggie (often on discount)

 

Tips for at school / university / work:

 

1. Ask to be served the right portion for you (at the canteen)

2. Keep an eye on the office fridge/fruit basket

3. Spread the word, share your tips to prevent food waste with colleagues

 

Tips for dining and eating out:

1. Grab a smaller plate and refill as needed

2. Take away your leftovers

3. Manage your expectations concerning availability of food, depending on the time of the day. (Sources)

What methods are common in the clothing industry and textile production to reduce waste to zero?

We can:

 

1. Buy less and keep clothes longer

2. Invest in sustainable brands

3. Stay away from big oil's fabrics

4. Repurpose old clothes

Moreover, waste can be lessened at sample making, cutting, manufacturing, packaging, sewing and finishing levels. One can also reduce the waste by manufacturing large quantities of the same style in different colors or prints, as cutting and production is easier with efficient marker making.

What strategies can be used to reduce and decrease food waste to zero in grocery stores?

1. Use systems to manage stock and food expiration

2. Harness data and analytics to identify waste patterns

3. Switch to modern appliances

4. Train staff about food waste reducing procedures

5. Embrace and sell imperfect produce. Potentially at a reduced price if consumers need to be encouraged

6. Donate surplus food.

What are the businesses that work to zero waste? What are the unique features of these businesses?

Famous companies leading the way in zero waste to landfill:

 

1. Subaru

2. Unilever

3. Procter & Gamble

4. Google

5. Mars, Inc.

6. Sierra Nevada

7. RTS

8. TerraCycle

9. Patagonia

10. Lush

The five principles of zero waste that come right from the experts are: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Compost and Recycle. Refuse: avoid buying products with lots of packaging. (Sources)

Briefly describe the innovative methods for zero plastic waste?

Specific rules and targets apply to certain areas, including single-use plastics, plastic packaging, microplastics, and soon bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics. The EU is taking action to tackle plastic pollution, marine litter and to transition into a circular and resource-efficient plastics economy.  (Sources)

What are the common methods for reducing waste to zero in relation to industrial production and factories?

The concept of zero waste in industrial production requires generating units to eliminate waste by reducing or reusing it and all significant production products and by-products of their production and commercial operations. Targets set by global organizations indicate that the results of this industrial waste reduction strategy should be seen soon.

What are the most important daily ways to reduce food waste to zero in supermarkets?

The purpose of this method is to remove packaging and food waste from the operation of stores. Customers are encouraged not to use plastic bags, and customers bring their reusable bags to the store and collect the items they need.

Concept of Food Sustainability

What are the main features of the concept of sustainability in the sustainable food production industry?

In sustainable food production using non-polluting development processes, guidelines and systems also conserve non-renewable energy and natural resources. They can be said to be economically efficient and safe for workers, communities and consumers. Ultimately, the needs of future generations are met and not endangered.

What are the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.(Source)

How can the concept of social sustainability be created in food industry businesses?

Social sustainability is about identifying and managing business impacts, both positive and negative, on people. The quality of a company’s relationships and engagement with its stakeholders is critical. Directly or indirectly, companies affect what happens to employees, workers in the value chain, customers and local communities, and it is important to manage impacts proactively. (Source)

How will food sustainability as one of the main issues in people's lives lead to the development of the concept of sustainability?

Sustainability changes the quality of our lives as human beings. Sustainable living is the concept of reducing one’s impact on the environment and consumption of natural resources. With the aim of preserving the planet for future generations and to protect our natural ecosystems. Behaviors that can be described as sustainable living involve making changes to transportation methods, level of energy consumption, and diet.

How Climate Change leads to Food Waste?

How can climate change lead to an increase in food waste in the food industry?

Food loss and waste exacerbates the climate change crisis with its significant greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint. Production, transportation, and handling of food generate significant Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions and when food ends up in landfills, it generates methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas. (Source)

What is the process of Vermicomposting?

How long does vermicompost take?

The average time required for vermicomposting is 3-6 months. Two pounds of cream can compost one pound of waste in 24 hours. There are several techniques for preparing cream colonies and ensuring the completion of the process within this time period. Parameters such as humidity management, checking the aeration process, temperature stabilization, food balance of creams, and food management can usually help increase speed.

What is the temperature required to form vermicompost?

It depends on the different conditions of compost production. Still, usually, the appropriate temperature for the maximum activity of worms in the vermicompost production process is 35 degrees Celsius, but this varies depending on the type of compost because, for example, in the process of thermophilic compost production, the temperature may be between 60 and 70 degrees. Usually, after preparing the bed with the appropriate temperature, the creams are placed on the production bed.

What are the types of worms active in the formation of the vermicompost process?

Eisenia foetida, Lumbricus rubellus

Generally, the above two species are used to produce vermicompost. Reproduction of these species in the production medium is very suitable, and the culture medium is a more suitable environment for the reproduction of these two species.

What are the most important environmental benefits of vermicompost?

Vermicompost improves soil structure, texture, porosity, water holding capacity, drainage, and aeration and reduces erosion. Moreover, vermicompost enhances plant blooming, suppresses plant diseases, increases porosity and microbial activity in the soil, and improves water retention and aeration. In addition, vermicompost helps improve plant growth by enabling the development of new shoots and leaves, thereby increasing productivity. It helps to neutralize the pH of the soil. Vermicompost also benefits the environment by reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and decreasing the amount of waste going to landfills.

What are the most important economic benefits of vermicompost production?

Vermicompost production can be an "economically productive" process because it reduces a large amount of food waste, contributing to sustainable agriculture and organic production. Vermicompost production is an effective process in reducing recycling and waste collection costs and saving landfill space.

Carbon FootPrint

What can be the role of the circular economy in the food production industry?

Circular food economics uses the natural cycles of materials produced and consumed. The routine is that the waste generated at the end of the cycle is cleaned through biological processes and instead used as a raw material for the production cycle of new natural products. The organic product is obtained from food by-products, is free of contaminants, and can be returned to the soil through an organic process.

How can a circular economy pave the way for sustainable development?

The circular economy in sustainable development can be understood as a sustainable economic system. One of the essential features is that it can be considered economic growth through the reduction and re-circulation of natural resources consumables. It is a kind of use of resources and its revival. The main goal of this approach is to maintain the natural cycle of recycling, products, materials, and resources to reduce waste in nature. This will lead to less extraction of natural resources and reuse of a product in different forms. One of the essential advantages of this system is that optimization and productivity are formed to reduce raw materials, and finally, we will have sustainable development based on sustainable growth.

What are the most important challenges of the circular economy?

Some materials fit more easily into the circular economy than others. Nearly all food and drinks cans and other steel packaging, for example, are recycled. But some materials present a much tougher challenge. (Source)

How can a circular economy in the digital context contribute to sustainable development?

At the same time, there are two ongoing transitions: the creation of a circular economy and the digital transformation that could provide the means to address these challenges, if they are managed well. (Source)

What are the most important environmental benefits of a circular economy?

Moving towards a more circular economy could deliver benefits such as reducing pressure on the environment, improving the security of the supply of raw materials, increasing competitiveness, stimulating innovation, boosting economic growth (an additional 0.5% of gross domestic product), creating jobs (700,000 jobs in the EU alone by 2030). (Source)

What is the difference between ecological footprint and carbon footprint?

The key difference between ecological footprint and carbon footprint is that the ecological footprint measures the human demand on the earth's ecological capacity while the carbon footprint measures the human impact on the environment with the number of greenhouse gases produced in units of carbon dioxide equivalents. (Source)

How to calculate ecological footprint?

We at  Sapient encourage everyone to calculate their own ecological footprint and share it with others. Here is a great website to do it.

What does the concept of EU fusion mean?

FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimizing Waste Prevention Strategies) is a project about working towards a more resource efficient Europe by significantly reducing food waste. The project runs for 4 years, from August 2012 to July 2016. It is funded by the European Commission Framework Programme 7. (Source)

What does the definition of food waste mean?

According to the FAO, food waste refers to the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by retailers, food service providers and consumers.

According to statistics, what is the amount of food waste in the EU?

In the EU, around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually with associated costs estimated at 143 billion euros (FUSIONS, 2016). While an estimated 20% of the total food produced is lost or wasted, 33 million people cannot afford a quality meal every second day (Eurostat, 2018). (Source)

What is the difference between food waste and food loss?

Food Loss is that gets slopped, corrupted or otherwise lost, or incurs lessening of quality and value during its process in the food supply chain before it gets its final product phase. Food loss commonly takes place at production, post-harvest, processing, and distribution stages in the food supply chain. Food waste refers to food that is fit for consumption but purposefully abandoned at the retail or consumption stages.

How is food waste measured in a restaurant?

Industry leaders have agreed there are three principles of food waste measurement: (1) Food waste measurement and reduction should focus on farm to fork in pursuit of SDG Target 12.3. (2) The framework of the Target, Measure, Act represents the best way to make progress on food waste measurement and prevention. (3) Consistent definitions of food, food waste, and inedible parts, must be adopted by every organization which commits to measuring and reducing food waste. (Source)

What is the possible ways to manage food waste at home?

1. Planning meals and shopping smartly

2. Storing and saving food properly

3. Organizing the fridge and pantry

4. Memorizing expiration dates

5. Eating the leftovers

6. Getting creative with scraps

7. Starting a composting process

8. Donating to food banks

What are the important effects of increasing food waste on the economy?

The bottom line is that wasted food is an environmental concern. Food wastage is observed in all stages of production up to the supply of goods and consumers. When we waste food, we also waste the energy and resources needed to grow, harvest, transport, and package. And the resulting loss leads to increased levels of methane and greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide. On the other hand, if we add the costs of food waste, we will see a decrease in profits, an increase in commodity prices, and a decrease in production in the economy. Secondary economic effects can reduce productivity, and food insecurity, increase commodity maintenance costs and ultimately reduce the productive force in economic production.

What are the important ways to avoid food waste?

1. Reducing Stage: Using less of or doing without unneeded components and cooking fewer pieces to avoid extreme scraps.

2. Reusing Stage: Repurposing food leftovers instead of tossing them out and using reusable receptacles to purchase foods in proportions.

3. Recycling Stage: Composting portion food wastes.

What are the innovative solutions to reduce food waste?

Shelf-life extension technologies reduce food waste at the consumption stage by allowing perishable foods to last longer.

 

Some examples are:

 

1. Making garbage optional

2. Fruit natural coating

3. Online Marketplace from farm to home directly

4. Smart diverse fruit boxes

5. Getting wasted food off the shelves

How can reducing food waste contribute to sustainable development?

SDG 12.3: "By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses." Reducing food waste provides multifaceted gains for people, the planet, and prosperity. It improves food security, addresses the global problems of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, and reduces the burden on waste management systems. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aim to halve food waste by 2030. (Source)

How does food waste produce methane?

Nearly a quarter of methane emissions can be attributed to agriculture, much of which is from raising livestock and rice cultivation. Food waste is a great source of agricultural methane, as nearly a third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. (Source)