UAE’s new food banks the solution to food waste issue

Time Out has details on the UAE's new food banks, the solution to food waste issue. Leftovers will be donated to those in need at home and abroad

What better way to kick-start the UAE’s Year of Giving than with a comprehensive plan to waste less food?

His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced on Tuesday that he will be launching an official food bank that will reduce food waste and make sure leftovers go to those who need them most at home and abroad.

According to Dubai Media Office, the government-run NGO will partner up “with hotels, restaurants, supermarkets to store and package excess fresh food effectively… then work with volunteers and partners to distribute the well-packaged food within and outside of the UAE.”

Aside from being a very noble cause, choosing food waste as the first issue to address in 2017, officially named the UAE’s Year of Giving, is also a logical choice.

In a country where so much emphasis is put on delivering top-class eating experiences in the shape of mouth-watering brunches and buffets, a lot of food inevitably goes to waste.

In fact, “an average person in Europe generates around 1.2kg of waste a day, which is less than half the per capita waste generation of 2.7kg per day in the UAE,” Ivano Ianelli, CEO of Dubai Carbon, reported last June.

“This doubles to 5.4kg a day during Ramadan in the UAE…Clearly this is something that needs to be addressed.”

And so it has!

In financial terms, the UAE has the potential to save Dhs13 billion annually in food loss, which as Dubai Media Office reports can now be redirected to benefit other social sectors.

Only two weeks ago, a nationwide clear-up saw 110,000 kilos of rubbish disposed of by 125,536 volunteers across 146 locations in the UAE.

This, together with a number of other ground-breaking plans aiming to make the UAE the greenest and most sustainable country in the world, prove just how willing this country is to keep on getting better.

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