Cyprus’ households waste more food than they think according to the findings of a survey presented on Thursday.

According to the Life FOODprint survey, aimed at raising awareness about the environmental problem of food waste in Cyprus, 73 per cent of Cypriot households buy more food than they need. At the same time, 85 per cent of respondents said that there are leftovers when preparing or ordering food.

This is the first survey carried out in Cyprus on this issue. The campaign is co-financed by the EU Life programme.

The average household throws 23 per cent of its weekly purchases in food, vegetables and fruits in the trash, the study said. More than half of respondents, 56 per cent, said that they feel guilty throwing food in the rubbish bin, and 46 per cent thought it was a waste of money.

Only 30 per cent said they realise that this was harmful to the environment.

Seven out of ten consumers tend to buy more than the required amount of food, while in most households, there is a surplus of food that is not consumed. According to the survey this happens ‘most of the time’ in two out of ten households, while in almost seven out of ten, this happens ‘sometimes’. Only 14 per cent of households said they almost never have leftovers.

According to the survey, two thirds consume the food left over in the following days, while one third tend to give the leftover food to pets.

Less than one in 10 said that they compost food, while one in six said they quite often or always, throw food in the bin.

Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis, who addressed the presentation of the survey, welcomed the implementation of the campaign, arguing “it supports the coordinated efforts of the state to implement a series of innovative measures for sorting waste at the source, such as the system ‘I pay what I throw’ and composting.”

The minister said that the rational management of organic waste is promoted in Cyprus through the municipal waste management strategy.

The establishment of a source sorting system and separate collection of municipal waste, including organic waste, and the implementation of the ‘I pay what I throw’ system, are expected to motivate people to reduce and properly sort their waste for reuse and recycling, Kadis said.