The first festival dedicated entirely to the reduction of waste took place June 30 to July 2 in Paris. The Zero Waste Festival was dedicated to providing information, including practical and theoretical support, to the food industry, members of the public, and to local governments and other officials in order to reduce food and other types of waste.
The festival featured 50 different workshops on how to reduce waste, which were based around four broad themes: Composting (an example of one of the workshops: “Composting in apartment buildings”), production (“Zero-waste cosmetics”), repairing instead of throwing away (“Clever maintenance tips for electrical equipment”), and spreading awareness (“The lifecycle of a cellphone”).
More than 100 waste-reduction experts, including authors, managers, CEOs, government officials, and activists, took part in the festival, participating in workshops, speeches and debates. More than 5,000 people attended the festival. The Zero Waste Festival proved particularly useful for entrepreneurs, whose activities represent a huge potential for reducing waste on a large scale.
A large palette of possible solutions for waste reduction were provided: sorting bio-waste and composting/methanization, buying in bulk and consignment to reduce packaging waste, using washable food utensils, repairing and upcycling textiles, electrical equipment, and many others.
Reducing food and other types of waste is an environmental project of enormous importance. The French government has taken big steps in recent years to reduce edible food being thrown out whenever possible. Major grocery store chains have signed a pact organized by the government to pledge to give as much unused food as possible to charities rather than throwing it out.
Cafeterias and meal services in schools, nursing homes, hospitals and other similar types of public establishments are also making strides to decrease food waste. The French government has provided detailed guidance for every step of the food provision process for these types of locations in order to provide ideas for how to produce less food that doesn’t get eaten and how to donate the food to charities in case it occurs. These types of large public establishments represent a huge part of the food industry, so reducing food waste there will go a long way to ending food waste.