Many precious foodstuffs end up in the bin. Private households throw away about 6.1 million tons of food per year. That's about 75 kilos of food waste per person. Much of it is preventable. These are the findings of a study conducted by the Thünen Institut for the year 2015 (published in 2019).  

Food is wasted along the whole food supply chain: "Primary production accounts for 12 % (1.36 million tons); processing for 18 % (2.17 million tons); trade for 4 % (0.49 million tons), and out of house meals for 14 % (1.69 million tons). The bulk of food waste is generated in private households at 52 % (6.14 million tons), which is equivalent to about 75 kg per capita in 2015." (Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 2019)

No food seems to be safe from ending up in the bin. This applies especially to fruits and vegetables. All products which are important for a healthy diet, but which unfortunately turn quickly unsightly when not stored adequately; most frequently end up in the bin such as withered salad, shriveled carrots or apples with bruises. Also baked goods are discarded, as well as leftovers, dairy products, beverages and easy-perishables such as meat and fish.

Why do we throw away so much? 

We get tempted, we grab to-bigpacks when purchasing, even though we are not able to deplete them. We store our food improperly or throw it away, without checking whether it is still edible. We cook too much without further utilizing leftovers. All this is double expensive for us and for the environment. We invest water and raw materials for the production of food, and waste even more energy for their destruction.

You can change that

To reduce the amount of food waste in Germany significantly the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) runs the initiative To good for the bin!, which was launched in spring 2012. It has the objective to reach as many consumers as possible and reduce food waste with joint effort along the entire chain. 


The website of the initiative (only in german) offers background information and useful tips for everyday life. These show how we can better buy, store and eat food. Those looking for tasty and creative cooking ideas for best leftovers can find them in the large database for recipes – top chefs and celebrities have provided many of the recipes. Also own recipe ideas can be posted and shared with others. In an interactive test one can find out how to reduce food waste best. In the news section the initiative informs about actions, experts here give advice and provide information from trade, politics and science. 

10 golden rules

The broshure contains tips für everyday life and shows us that we can all play our part. Because food is Too good for the bin!


To prepare delicious leftover meals from leftovers: For this purpose there is the app Zu gut für die Tonne! with more than 700 cooking ideas including recipes from top chefs and celebrity chef mentors such as Johan Lafer or Daniel Brühl. Here you will find classic meals like "Armer Ritter" (French Toast) as well as new creations and smart side dishes made of few ingredients. Furthermore the app gives tips for shopping, correct storage and utilization of food.

National Strategy for Food Waste Reduction

For a substantial reduction of food waste along the entire food supply chain the federal government adopt the National Strategy for Food Waste Reduction of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in february 2019.


Federal Office of Agriculture
and Food
Phone: +49 (0)228 6845- 7340
Fax: +49 (0)228 6845- 7112