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Fruit and vegetables in the fight against food waste

Focus on circular economy in the new episode of "Nature from the field to the table"

Creating sustainable agri-food systems is not at all simple: the world of fruit and vegetables boasts many experiences that give a second life to products. There was talk of "circular economy to create value" in the eighth episode of the cycle "nature from the field to the table" broadcast on 7 Gold. A concrete example comes from the prickly pear supply chain. If the versatility of the fruit pulp is well known due to its nutraceutical and nutritional properties, a real world opens up when it comes to the use of plant waste.

"There is not a single part of this plant that we do not reuse: from the flower to the cladoid, from the peel to the seed", said Salvatore Rapisarda , director of the Consorzio Euroagrumi Op in Biancavilla (Catania). all the scraps. We have already obtained biodegradable dishes from prickly pear shovels to use at the table. It is a research project carried out in collaboration with some universities". Sandro Colombi, director of Lamboseeds, recalled how "research is increasingly moving in the direction of selecting varieties of vegetables that are more resistant to diseases and adaptable to arid climates, thinking from the point of view of less and less water available and therefore irrigation with minors. But it is not easy, especially using traditional techniques and not GMOs".

The technician Stefano Pazzagli described how a vegetable processing company such as Sipo of Bellaria Igea Marina (Rimini) goes to reuse its water to minimize waste. “The water used to wash the vegetables is then purified in a storage tank and further decanted in a company pond. From here it is used again to irrigate and, if it is not used, it returns to the sea".

Regarding the costs of sustainable packaging, that is to say recyclable and not of plastic origin, the expert Giampaolo Ferri said that “Large-scale distribution must bear, at least in part, the higher costs of these packaging. They cannot be supported only by packaging companies. On the other hand, large-scale distribution cannot even 'charge' the costs too much, because otherwise they would weigh everything on the final consumer ”. Giovanni Bruno, president of the Food Bank Foundation Onlus also spoke. In 2021, the collection collected 7,000 tons of food, the equivalent of 14 million meals, despite the inconvenience due to bad weather in many places.

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EFA News - European Food Agency