Food waste generation in Germany in the scope of European legal requirements for monitoring and reporting
The European Commission and the German government are committed to the United Nations SDG target 12.3 of reducing food waste along production chains and halving it at retailand consumer levels by 2030. European member states are required to monitor national food waste levels and report annual progress to the European Commission from 2020 onward. In this regard, the main objective of our study is to provide food waste quantities for Germany by applying methods meeting the legal requirements for monitoring and reporting within Europe-wide harmonized methodology. Our results refer to 2015 and are based on the best available data, using a combination of official statistics, surveys, and literature. We found that approx. 11.9 ± 2.4 million tonnes (144 ± 28 kg/(cap·year)) of food waste were generated in Germany, while the reduction potentials varied throughout the different sectors. Even though the underlying data show uncertainties, the outcome of the study represents a starting point for the upcoming monitoring activities in Germany by uncovering data and knowledge gaps. To meet the political reduction targets, a national foodwaste strategy was launched in 2019 by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, which is an important step toward cooperation and exchange between actors along the entire food chain, raising awareness, and improving data quality, monitoring, and implementation of prevention measures in practice.