Food Waste Around the World, Episode 36: Hungary
Food Waste Around the World is a Food Circle’s project aimed at providing information and raising awareness about food waste. The project is designed as a series of interviews with students coming from different countries with the aim of understanding how this issue is tackled and perceived around the world. This is made possible thanks to Sapient, the mother company of Food Circle, which every year offers internships to students from all around the world creating a uniquely multicultural environment.
Today we speak with Mirtill from Hungary!
"I feel there have been great improvements to make people more conscious about food waste and the necessity to recycle food. But there are still a lot of areas in Hungary where food waste is not a priority."
Hello Mirtill. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me. Can you briefly introduce yourself?
Yes, my name is Mirtill Zámbori. I am from Hungary. I studied Fine Arts and majored in graphic design. After I got my Bachelor's degree last year, I decided to join Food Circle as a Graphic Design intern.
What is the situation of food waste in Hungary?
In Hungary, the National Food Bank helps to allocate a big part of the food donation to people in need which is carried out by the partner organizations. Under the amendment to the law regulating supermarkets, grocery chains will have the option of donating the food to a new state-owned nonprofit, the Food Rescue Center, or directly to charity organizations. Dealing with the problem of food waste is not an equal priority in every part of Hungary. In some cities and towns, there is the possibility to collect the biodegradable waste in special bags, but it does not directly address food waste, it includes every kind of waste. In the countryside, there were some efforts made to make composting a known and liked the method of dealing with food waste. It had some success but was not 100% effective in every area of the program. 90 million tonnes of food in the European Union and 600,000 tonnes in Hungary end up in landfills each year. The EU this year had allowed the donation of unsold food to the needy. This regulation increased the amount of food that could be saved and therefore required the development of food redistribution systems. This was the aim of a law passed in Hungary earlier this month requiring retailers to save food by offering it to the needy within 48 hours of its sell-by date. The law was aimed both at preventing food waste and distributing unsold food to those in need through charity organizations.
Do you feel like there has been an improvement to tackle food waste in the last few years?
Yes, I feel there have been great improvements to make people more conscious about food waste and the necessity to recycle food. But there are still a lot of areas in Hungary where food waste is not a priority.
Are there regulations or organizations concerned with reducing food wastage in Hungary?
In Hungary, there is no legislation specifically addressing food waste reduction nor food (re-)distribution. There is the Food Chain Safety Strategy 2013- 2022 to reduce food waste production. In addition, there is the National Waste Management Plan to use our bio-waste for composting and energy utilization.
What do you think about the measurements? What could or should be changed?
We should be more proactive on the importance of food waste. We should also give more possibilities to people living in cities, and often without gardens.
There should be specific laws on food waste as well, and the reduction of the production of such should be easier. Food waste and kitchen waste are not solved yet and the needed treatment capacity is not available at the moment. There should be a solution for it.
Thank you very much for your time. Have a lovely day.
Interviewer: Lea Annikki Kaiser
Interviewed: Mirtill Zámbori
Editor and Writer: Lea Annikki Kaiser
Situation on Food Waste in Hungary. (n.d.). Reduce Food Waste in Europe. Retrieved January 31, 2022, from http://www.reducefoodwaste.eu/situation-on-food-waste-in-hungary.html
This is how the government wants to reduce Hungary's food waste. (2021, December 30). Daily News Hungary. Retrieved January 31, 2022, from https://dailynewshungary.com/this-is-how-the-government-wants-to-reduce-hungarys-food-waste/