The average resident of Belgrade throws away 108 kilograms of food (27.7 kg of edible and 80.4 kg of inedible parts of food) in one year, which is 300 grams per day per inhabitant of the capital of Serbia, the research results “Why and how do we make food waste?” published by the Center for Environmental Improvement.

To solve the problem, new regulations, infrastructure for food waste separation, as well as education of citizens are needed, is the message of the participants in the conference organized by the City of Belgrade, in cooperation with the Center for Environmental Improvement and with the support of the United Nations Environment Program.

– Observed on an annual level, the inhabitants of the capital throw away more than 165 thousand tons of edible and inedible parts of food. When it comes to edible parts of food, vegetables (10.2 kg), fruits (8.5 kg), bread (4.7 kg), meat (3.6 kg) and dairy products (0.7 kg) are thrown away the most. – said prof. Dr. Bojan Batinić from the Center of Excellence for Circular Economy and Climate Change, who analyzed the results of direct measurements.

We have been throwing away less food since the pandemic began

Research on food waste and the habits of Belgraders was done in parallel with the big cities of Uganda, Thailand, Colombia and Qatar. The obtained data are important as a fulcrum for taking over the action, pointed out the UN Permanent Representative in Serbia, Francois Jacob. She stated that in Serbia, it annually generates 770,000 tons of food waste, mainly in households and the hospitality sector. Even 90 percent of waste ends up in landfills and emits greenhouse gases.

– Today, once again, together with the UN Environment Program and the city of Belgrade, we want to raise awareness and call all state actors and citizens into action. We need new legislation, new regulations and a focus on food waste within the new Belgrade plan for waste management, commitment of the hospitality sector and promotion of sustainable consumption for all – said Francois Jacob, UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia.

Vladan Šćekić from the Center for the Improvement of the Environment pointed out that the pandemic had a positive impact on the ugly habit of throwing food away. One in four respondents has started throwing less food since the pandemic.

– Generally speaking, it can be noticed that a large part of the society has awareness and habits that help reduce food waste, but that percentage is still not at a satisfactory level. There are patterns in how certain demographic groups behave. This will serve as a basis for further development of informative and educational programs that aim to reduce the amount of food wasted – pointed out Šćekić.

We usually throw because we cooked too much

The City of Belgrade has adopted the Action Plan for Municipal Waste Management for the period 2021-2030. years. Food waste is recognized as one of the waste streams, which provides a basis for further creation and improvement of measures to solve this problem at the local level. Mayor Zoran Radojicic pointed out that in the mass of seemingly attractive headlines in the media, throwing food at first glance does not seem to be an important topic.

– It seems to me that it is of exceptional importance. We often throw away food automatically and we are not aware of how much we are scattering. That is why at a time when we have so many hungry people on Earth, this is a moral and ethical issue. At the same time, throwing away food means an irrational attitude towards the planet and its resources, towards the future and new generations. The question of the consumer society and the strength of capital is also opening – said Radojicic.

Four circumstances usually influence the food to be thrown away in the end. In almost half of the households, food is thrown away because too much is cooked and the remnants piled up. In slightly fewer cases, food is thrown away because it has spoiled (44.6%), because of the expiration date of food items (40.2%), and because it has been forgotten in the refrigerator / freezer (17.3%).

Women and the elderly are more willing to sort waste

Over 70% of the respondents unequivocally expressed their readiness to classify food waste, assuming that an appropriate systemic solution is established. There is a big difference between women and men when it comes to the affirmative answer to the question about the readiness to classify food waste (79.1% vs. 61.9%). On the other hand, only 0.9% of women answered in the negative to the indicated question, while for men it is four times more.

The oldest respondents show the highest degree of readiness to accept the separation of waste from food, if it is systemically established. In contrast, where over 80% of affirmative answers were recorded, among respondents aged 36 to 45, this is only 55%.

Only 2.3% of respondents disagree with the view that throwing away edible parts of food is a major social problem. In addition, more than 90% of respondents agree that food waste is a major environmental problem.

Approximately every tenth respondent admitted that he did not care about the amount of edible parts of food he threw away. An even higher percentage of respondents (14.5%) state that they do not show concern about the price of the food they throw away. Finally, 7.6% of respondents believe that nothing can move them in the direction of less food waste.

Only 9.7% of respondents never throw away food, and in 52.9% of households respondents throw food less than once a week. On the other hand, in households 2.5% of respondents throwing is a daily practice.

Necessary education of citizens, as well as infrastructure for waste separation

It is encouraging that almost two thirds of the respondents claim that they would probably throw less if they had information on how best to store food. A slightly larger number of citizens (70.9%) agree that they would probably make an effort to throw less, if they had data on the impact of discarded food on the living environment. Approximately the same percentage of respondents (68.8%) agree that they would probably make an effort to throw less if they had an insight into the price of discarded food.

Researchers state that the findings unequivocally show that it is necessary for citizens to be instructed as much as possible and thoroughly in the issue of food waste. There is a lot of room to improve knowledge, as well as to encourage citizens to act in the direction of less food waste.

Aside from it is necessary for state bodies to adopt regulations that will lead to a reduction in food waste and set up infrastructure for the separation of food waste, in order to reduce the negative impact on the environment, the authors of the research state.

The research was done in accordance with the methodology of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) for measuring the global food waste index and will be the starting point for all future research in this area.

The survey on the attitudes and habits of citizens was conducted in the first half of June on a representative sample of 1003 respondents. A survey regarding the direct measurement of discarded food was conducted on a sample of 100 households in September this year. The research was conducted with the support of the United Nations Environment Program.

E2 portal (Circular economy)

Source: E2 Portal by

*The article has been translated based on the content of E2 Portal by If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!

*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.

*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!