Business / Corporate

Japan sets target of 20% cut in industrial food waste by 2030

Kyodo

Japan will aim for a cut of around 20 percent in industrial food waste by fiscal 2030 compared with fiscal 2016, a basic policy outlined by a government panel stated Wednesday.

The policy seeks to slash the annual amount of food discarded by convenience stores, restaurants and other businesses to 2.73 million tons by fiscal 2030 — half the amount logged in fiscal 2000. In fiscal 2016, industrial food waste across the country totaled 3.52 million tons.

The outline, compiled by the Environment Ministry’s Central Environment Council, is based on the country’s Food Recycling Law and follows the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, which call for halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels by 2030.

Based on the policy, the government will soon set goals specific to each business — ranging from fast-food establishments to Japanese-style pubs and bento suppliers — and step up efforts to monitor the entire process from food production to retail sales.

As for household food waste, in June last year the government set a goal of halving the amount by fiscal 2030 from 4.33 million tons in fiscal 2000. In fiscal 2015, food discarded by households totaled 2.89 million tons.

“To achieve this goal, consumer cooperation in efforts such as reducing the amount of food left over when dining out is essential,” a member of the panel said, stressing the importance of campaigns to raise awareness.

Last Friday the Diet enacted legislation to promote the reduction of food waste. The government will formulate measures backed by the law to cut back such waste and municipalities will be obliged to devise their own action plans toward that end.

Major convenience store operators Seven-Eleven Japan Co. and Lawson Inc. have also said they will start discounting rice balls and lunch boxes that are nearing the end of their shelf life to trim food waste.

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