Greetings from the Minister of Environmental Protection

Every year, 2.5 million tons of edible food are thrown away, which is roughly 35% of all the food produced in Israel. The inconceivable ease with which we discard good, edible food in Israel and throughout the Western world is a symptom of an extravagant consumer lifestyle and culture. This is an absurd reality in which money and resources are tossed out, even as we are confronting an economic and social crisis.

The phrase “food waste” encompasses the many irretrievably lost resources – land, water, energy, pesticides and fertilizers – that are invested in growing, producing, importing and marketing produce. Throughout the process, greenhouse gases and pollutants are also emitted. In the end, we need to invest tremendous economic resources to treat unnecessary waste.

Upon taking office as Minister of Environmental Protection, I set a goal of leading Israel’s waste treatment sector to compliance with OECD standards, reducing the amount of waste landfilled in Israel to 20%, while promoting a circular economy and policy tools for preventing waste at source.
The problem of food loss is not unique to Israel; it is a global challenge. The UN sustainable development goals (SDG indices) include halving food waste by 2030.

This report reveals and clarifies the environmental issues associated with food waste and loss, and analyzes the economic costs arising from the phenomenon. It proves that we cannot ignore the environmental aspects of food waste. There is much to be done, and the time has come to devote resources, knowledge and policy tools to significantly reducing food waste in Israel. Reducing waste and rescuing food is win-win-win situation – benefiting the environment, the economy and society.

In addition to the requisite government action on the issue, it is important to note that the public can also act; as consumers, we can prevent waste. The next time we buy food, cook, and host, we should not only be concerned that “nothing should be lacking,” but also that “nothing should be wasted.”

MK Gila Gamliel
Minister of Environmental Protection