Ireland is wasting over one million meals a day

Date released: June 27, 2024

  • Ireland generated 750,000 tonnes of food waste in 2022.
  • Food waste in Ireland has not significantly decreased over the first three years of national reporting.
  • 70 per cent of food waste was generated by businesses and industries across the food supply chain, 30 per cent by households. 

27 June 2024: New figures released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today show that over 750,000 tonnes of food waste was generated in Ireland in 2022. There has been no significant change in the amount of food waste generated in the first three years of national statistics reporting (for years 2020, 2021 and 2022).

Over 70 per cent of food waste was generated by food & drink sector businesses and 30 per cent by households. This is food wasted during production, manufacturing and processing, distribution, at retail level, in restaurants and in our homes.

David Flynn, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability said:

“As a nation, Ireland is wasting too much food – over one million meals a day - which is a significant resource and economic loss. With 70 per cent of food waste generated by food & drink businesses across the supply chain, there is a clear obligation on this sector to focus on preventing food waste. Signing up to the EPA’s Food Waste Charter is a positive statement that your business is serious about taking action to measure and reduce food waste. 

Unavoidable food waste should be segregated for recycling. Waste collectors are required to provide an organic waste bin so all businesses should now have a 3-bin system in place.”

Warren Phelan, Programme Manager, EPA Circular Economy Programme said:

“Waste collectors are obliged to provide their household customers with a food waste collection service since January 2024. Greater coverage and rollout of the organic waste bin is key to segregating food waste and increasing recycling through composting and anaerobic digestion.

Food waste costs households an average of €700 per year. Knowing the food you waste is the first step to prevent waste at home and the EPA’s Stop Food Waste programme provides lots of practical information to support householders.”

Further information: Emily Williamson, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours) or

Notes to Editor

  • In 2022, Ireland generated 750,000 tonnes of food waste across primary production, manufacturing & processing, distribution & retail, restaurants & food services, and households. For more information see: Food Waste Statistics | Environmental Protection Agency (
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 aims, by 2030, to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and to reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency has a statutory obligation to establish national food waste prevention programmes.
  • The Food Waste Charter is the EPA’s business-focussed food waste prevention initiative, and its delivery is a key action in the government’s National Food Waste Prevention Roadmap. Membership of the Food Waste Charter is open to any businesses that produce, process, manufacture, distribute or sell food and drink and to supporting organisations that commit to championing the Food Waste Charter within their areas of responsibility.
  • State Agencies play a key role in supporting and developing the food and drink sector in Ireland. Five State Agencies (Bord Bia, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Enterprise Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Teagasc) have pledged their commitment to the Food Waste Charter.
  • Businesses that sign up to the Food Waste Charter commit to measure (monitor and track their food waste), reduce (identify and take at least one target-based action to reduce food waste) and report (annually on progress towards measurable outcomes and achievements) on their food waste. There are currently 37 members (19 manufacturing & processing, 5 retail, 13 restaurant and food services)
  • A general approach on amendments to EU waste legislation which will introduce mandatory food waste reduction targets by 2030 was approved last week. These targets are a 10% reduction in food waste in processing & manufacturing and a 30% (per capita) reduction jointly at retail and consumption (restaurants, food services and households).
  • Today the EPA is hosting a Food Waste Forum networking event for the food & drink sector, marking a year since the Food Waste Charter launched.
  • Waste collection operators have a legal obligation to provide a 3-bin service to commercial customers and households – general waste, recyclables and bio-waste (certain exemptions apply).