Food recycling gets underway in Italy through the project «Food for Good – From meetings to solidarity»

11th Aug, 2015

An important project for the recycle of the surplus food of conferences and events, named FOOD FOR GOOD–From meetings to solidarity, jointly carried out by Federcongressi&eventi as well as by the non-profit organizations Banco Alimentare and Equoevento, is underway in the whole of the Italian meetings industry.

The goals

Premise of the project is that saving and retrieving food generates several benefits for the whole community:

  • a social benefit, first of all, because it gives support to those in need;
  • then there is an economic benefit, because through the recovery of food one reuses resources, optimizes their availability and avoids the costs of waste disposal as well;
  • an environmental benefit: less pollution is created because less food is thrown in landfills;
  • and finally an education benefit: one gets to inculcate respect for the value of food as well as for the human effort in its preparation.

Meal times, during conferences, congresses or events, are a pleasant opportunity of conviviality and sociability, where taste, high quality and abundance are starring. If the food is not all consumed and it ends up exceeding, one can retrieve it for the purpose of social solidarity. With simple operations, the excess food may be intended to Banco Alimentare or Equoevento NPOs, which will deliver it to facilities assisting people in need – not far away but always in the outskirts.

The recovery of the surplus must take place in a safe “chain of gift”, in which the various parties involved have duties and responsibilities clearly defined by a shared operating procedure.

The guidelines

Food recycling basically requires that the chain of heat and cold doesn’t get interrupted. Those who want to donate the food must:

  • contact Federcongressi&eventi indicating the place and the date of the event, the contacts of the catering service and the number of participants;
  • inform both staff and caterers. Here’s how to collect the food:
  • volunteers of a charity show up at the venue, on a previously agreed hour, equipped with vans suitable for food transporting;
  • they collect the surplus food inserted in special containers;
  • the  meals  so  collected  are  immediately  delivered  to  food  services  and  other charities.

The tests

Three facilities associated to Federcongressi&eventi (Cotone Congressi of Genoa, Palacongressi of Rimini, and the Milan-based PCO agency MZ Congressi) undertook some tests within 15 events from February 12 to July 1. The events were attended by a total of 17,235 participants (24,050 turn-outs).

Here is a list of the collected foods and a projection of how much could be recovered if this good practice were adopted in all the meetings held in Italy each year:

The companies involved in these tests have particularly appreciated the proposal and were happy to contribute to an important cause as well as to support the event with their local communities.

Portions of Collected in the tests What if the food were collected in all the Italian meetings
Ready-to-eat courses 1,393 8,051,708

Bread and baking

products kg

16,5 95,372
Fruit kg 2,5 14,450

Those already dealing with CSR issues could demonstrate consistency in their efforts, and in some cases they have had the pleasure to integrate the surplus food with other spare food and beverages in their possession (it goes without saying, always granting continuity in the chain of heat and cold).

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