Could we nourish the citizens of Zurich with food waste?

The story to our scenario

In the city of Zurich something unbelievable happens on a Friday morning.

Suddenly the earth starts to tremble (beben). The houses begin to shake and the people run helplessly and screaming around the street hoping to find a safe place.

All around Zurich, thick black walls emerge (treten hervor) from the ground. All the inhabitants of the city are trapped now and there is no way out. Panic breaks out among the people, so that the city council (Stadtrat) calls an emergency meeting. The big question now asked by the council members is: How long can the city of Zurich nourish (ernähren) itself? They are now getting to the bottom of this question.

The city council has summarized the following data:

The city council found out that with the two tons of wasted food, the whole city of Zurich could be nourished for seven years!
Source: Bevölkerung (

One third of all food which is produced in Switzerland ends up in our trash. This waste is around 2 million tons per year. This corresponds to a load of 140,000 trucks, which corresponds to a length from Zurich to Madrid.

In one day, 320 grams of flawless food per person are thrown into the trash.

That’s about a whole meal. And this happens every day.

The big problem is that we have more food available than we need.

This existing food waste comes from different sides, among other things, these are products from the daily consumption which we no longer use, food which we have bought too much or the portion in the restaurant is too large.
Source: wwf foodwaste (

Are we throwing away more food in Switzerland than in other countries?

Food waste is about the same in most countries.

The rich countries, in contrast to the poorer countries, waste much more food

In these regions of the world, losses in harvesting, storage and processing are higher as efficient technologies and know-how are less well available and widespread.
Source: wwf foodwaste (

Avoid foodwaste – Tips

  • Plan your shopping a few days or a week in advance and create a menu (Menüplan) and shopping list. It’s easy. A quick look into the fridge before shopping not only reduces the food waste, you can also save a lot of money, which would be otherwise spent unnecessarily.
  • Always check the expiry date (Ablaufdatum) of the products in the refrigerator and in the storage room, so that    you can use products which expire (ablaufen) soon in good time and avoid unnecessary purchases.
  • Shop regionally and seasonally: By choosing regional and seasonal products, you avoid long transport routes. This not only saves CO2; it also produces much less food waste. And not to forget: If you support the producers in your area, you know exactly where your food comes from.
  • Store visibly (sichtbar lagern): The better you see what food you have, the less you will throw away. Put your new groceries (Einkäufe) in the back. The next time you shop, it will move forward again. So you won’t forget anything in the corners of your fridge.

Source: Coop foodwaste vermeiden (


Below we have a few more exciting points regarding to food waste

Source: Food waste in der Schweiz (

Team Zurich: Elmedina, Céline und Jasmin

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4 thoughts on “Could we nourish the citizens of Zurich with food waste?

  1. Dear writers

    I really enjoyed reading your article. Personally I find that this topic is very important, because you realize that people are more and more spoiled and just throw away the food without thinking that it still has people these days who are starving!

    Especially I like the scenario, the reader can imagine it better and you wake up the interest to continue reading. When I saw the table I was shocked how much food we waste in Switzerland – it makes you think and you ask yourself the question: “What can I do for avoiding food waste?” I find the food waste tips at the end is really a very good idea.

    In my opinion it would have been even more interesting if you had made a comparision between “foodwaste Switzerland – world” and this graphically represented.

    In the internet I have found an interesting interview with Thomas Gröbly, owner of an ethics lab.

  2. Hello
    We think this is a very improtant topic.
    We are very astonished that we could live seven years with the food we throw away.

    The tips you written in your post are very interesting. In special the last one to store the food visible is a very good one.

    An other tip is to reuse the left overs from a previous day for a meal at a later day.

    Kind regards
    Jessica and Dominique

  3. Hey guys,

    food waste is an very interesting topic and an issue all around the world.

    Your essay is written understandable and interesting. Your chosen sources are authentic and the composition is reasonable. I enjoyed the two charts with the origin and consequences of food waste.

    I was very surprised about the fact, that we could nourish Zurich for seven years with the 2 tons of food waste which Switzerland made every year.

    Your tips for avoiding food waste are pretty helpful, I’ll try to follow them. Thanks!

    In addition you could have showed us your weekly food waste or what is happening with the thrown-away-nutrition.

    Kind regards,

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