The story of Bruges - Zero Waste Cities


The story of Bruges


The case of Bruges shows how a medium-sized city can effectively tackle food waste by developing a comprehensive strategy that includes all local stakeholders. In 2015, after assessing that 750,000 kg of edible food per year were wasted by retailers, the city of Bruges launched an ambitious Zero Food Waste strategy following 3 steps:

  • Strategic analysis to measure how much and where food was wasted
  • Action plans built through a participatory approach: supported by local organisations, the municipality created the Bruges Food Lab: a local stakeholder council on sustainable food 
  • Focus on specific sectors: healthcare, which was wasting in total 318 tonnes of food per year in 2015 (just from hot meals), equivalent to 1.017 tonnes of CO2 emissions and at 195.000 euro

After only 2 years the results were outstanding: 

  • Bruges became a European forerunner with up to 43% of food waste prevented in the main local hospital  
  • For every euro invested in preventing food waste the city saved 8€ usually dedicated to manage food waste
  • In 2017, this project won the special mention award on Food Waste at the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact conference 

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