France's Supermarket Waste Law Headed For Europe

Aug 19, 2015 08:00 PM EDT | By Althea Serad

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Arash Derambarsh, the son of Iranian exiles and who was born in Paris in 1979, spent four years of his childhood in Iran. In May, he succeeded persuading the French government to pass a law which forces certain supermarkets in France to donate their unsold produce to charities. 

Now, he has his sights on Europe and is calling on the head of the European commission to adopt the law, reported The Guardian.

In today's supermarkets, unsold food is being destroyed with bleach.

The new French law forces supermarkets, with a floor space of more than 400 square meters, to donate their unsold products to charities, lest they face up to €75,000 in fines.

Derambarsh is a local councilor in Courbevoie, Paris. He started the supermarket waste campaign by collecting unsold food and giving them to the less fortunate. After that, he started an online petition, thus creating much-needed momentum for the new law to be passed.

France wastes over 7.1m tonnes of food annually, according to the Ministry of Ecology, 67% of which is waste made by the consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% made by shops and distributors.

Despite criticism of his "simplistic" ideas, Derambarsh reportedly shrugs them off.

He also experienced a temporary setback with France's Constitutional Council which rejected the new waste law on a technicality. However, according to the BBC, Derambarsh is still pushing for the new law in Europe.

Over 89m tonnes of food is wasted per year in the EU, while worldwide, an estimated 1.3bn tonnes is wasted.

The new law is now being redrafted, possibly taking up more time.

Derambarsh has now created a new online petition following the success of his petition in France. The new petition is now circulating throughout the European Union, which aims to hit one million signatures from at least seven countries. If this happens, a European Citizens' Initiative could be launched, allowing for an official appeal to the European Commission to start banning supermarket waste across the EU with a legislation.

As of the current moment, the EU online petition already has 630,000 supporters. If it makes the million mark, the European Commission must consider Derambarsh's initiative. However, it is also possible that they might not take action.

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