Japan discarded an estimated 6 million tons of still-edible food in fiscal 2018, down 120,000 tons from the previous year amid growing public awareness of the need to reduce food waste, government data showed Tuesday.
It was the lowest figure since comparable data became available in fiscal 2012 and came as the government continues to urge businesses and households to cut food waste to realize the goal of halving the amount from fiscal 2000 to 4.89 million tons by fiscal 2030. Japan's fiscal year begins in April.
The Environment Ministry attributed the drop to a "greater awareness" among households of the need to reduce food waste.
Still-edible waste from households fell 80,000 tons to 2.76 million tons, while that from food-related business operators including restaurants and convenience stores decreased by 40,000 tons to 3.24 million tons in the reporting year.
"We will be able to achieve our goal at this rate, but it will not be an easy feat to continue reducing (food waste)," said Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi at a news conference on Tuesday.
"We'd like to continue working with businesses and local governments" to cut waste, he said.
Total food waste, including waste produced during processing such as egg shells and fish bones, fell to 25.31 million tons from 25.50 million tons the previous year, of which 17.65 million tons was dumped by business operators and 7.66 million tons by households.
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, roughly 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted globally every year. Overproduction of food and incineration of food waste consumes energy and contributes to carbon dioxide emissions.
Japan is aiming to further promote the use of containers to take home leftovers and raise awareness through publicity campaigns.
It usually takes two years for the government to compile food waste data based on reports from business operators as well as local authorities that collect household garbage.
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