The High Cost of Food Waste in Ireland

Food shopping in JanuaryFood waste is among the biggest problems facing the world, while food waste in Ireland is no exception. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recommend halving food waste by 2030. However, a recent study shows that Irish households have increased food waste by almost a third since 2008, making it increasingly important to address the issue. In this blog post, we delve into the true cost of food waste in Ireland and the impact it has on the economy.

The cost of food waste in Ireland

The cost of food waste in Ireland is not limited to the immediate financial impact on households. There are also damaging environmental and social effects. According to a report by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ireland loses over €1billion annually due to food waste. This is equivalent to throwing away 1 million tonnes of food every year – or 20% of all food purchased in the country.

The financial cost of food waste goes beyond wasting money on grocery bills, with food processing, transport, and waste management tasks causing negative environmental and economic impacts. For instance, producing food generates carbon emissions that cause significant environmental effects. This is because the waste in Ireland increases greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change.

Moreover, reducing food waste can provide assistance in combating food poverty. In Ireland, around 10% of households experience difficulties in accessing sufficient food. Food waste increases the volume of landfill, which can encourage rats and other pests while also producing unpleasant smells and greater strain on waste management facilities.

The causes of food waste in Ireland are several, ranging from high food costs, media portrayal of perfection standards for vegetables and fruits, and the tendency to over-shop (buying too much and letting it go to waste). Reducing food waste requires changes in thinking and behaviour. Simple actions, such as planning meals before shopping and reducing portion sizes, are habits that can significantly alleviate this issue.

Moreover, the Irish government has taken some actions that effectively curb food waste. For example, they have implemented taxes and fines for food waste disposal and encouraged consumers to purchase locally produced goods. Furthermore, the Irish Food Board- Bord Bia initiated a food sustainability programme that ensures food systems are fair, accessible and preserve natural resources.


The high cost of food waste in Ireland is increasing, both financially and environmentally. The good news is that combating food waste is in everyone’s hands. By adopting basic habits and behaviours such as proper meal planning before shopping and learning how to turn food waste into by-products, we can help reduce food waste volumes and make a positive contribution to society. Nonetheless, it is up to the Irish government and key stakeholders to lead the charge in addressing the food waste issue proactively.