Stop Food Waste. Lessons from the Nordic countries: from community fridge to special restaurant in Copenhagen


76 kilograms. That’s the amount of food an average Lithuanian throws away every year. An estimated value of this food is 4 million EUR per week or 196 million EUR per year. According to the experts, not only wasteful food practices cost a lot, but it also significantly contributes to environmental pollution.

Research by Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) shows that families with children, people who live in metropolitan areas and higher-income households throw away the most food in Lithuania.

According to Eurobarometer, 44 proc. of Lithuanians believe that everyone can and should participate in minimizing food waste. That is not that much compared to Sweden’s 88 proc.

“At first sight, wasteful food practices can seem only like a minor problem that specific households have to deal with, but it encompasses so much more. Our everyday choices in the store and at home in our kitchens directly impact the environment and climate.

The food industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world and simple day-to-day food waste from our households contributes the biggest part to the overall food waste. It is estimated that, if all food waste in the world would be a country its greenhouse gas emissions would be third in the world, after China and USA”, notices Agnė Buraitytė, Adviser at the Nordic Council of Minister’s Office in Lithuania.

The biggest part of food waste in the world comes from fruits and vegetables (44 %), then from fish and seafood (20 %), and finally from flour products (19 %).

“On the global level, the damaging effects of wasting food are now understood by the majority of the countries in the world, but the Nordic countries seem to be ahead of everyone on implementing actual practices, policy, and initiatives that help reduce food waste. No doubt, the Nordic experiences, and examples could help Lithuanians.

For instance, Free fridge, an initiative in Copenhagen. It is a 24/7 working community fridge that everyone can take food from or bring their surplus. Also, in Denmark’s capital, there was a restaurant “Rub og Stub”. In it, volunteers would cook food from products whose expiration dates were about to run out because either way, the stores would have just thrown them out. Now they are sharing their experience with schools, other restaurants, and other communities in Denmark”, said A. Buraitytė.

For more information on these and other initiatives, you can here on January 22nd 4 pm. at the online event “Food Waste: Communities & Innovations”. Event is organized by the Nordic Council of Minister’s office in Lithuania and Miesto laboratorija. You can register for the free online event here.