Campus and Community

FLAW4LIFE project wins two LIFE awards

FLAW4LIFE, a project that aims to reduce food waste due to appearance, won the LIFE award in the “Environment” category and the LIFE Citizens ’Prize, where the public voted for their favourite project.

The LIFE Awards 2020 were delivered this Wednesday, 21st October, during the EU Green Week, held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The FLAW4LIFE project has reduced so far more than 2,300 tonnes of food waste, which represents the annual food waste of 13,000 people”, the Representation of the European Commission in Portugal said in a statement.

Técnico is one of the partners of this winning project. “The Fruta Feia team received this news with great emotion”, says the Técnico professor Inês Ribeiro (Department of Mechanical Engineering – DEM), and one of the researchers of FLAW4LIFE project. “This project allowed not only the expansion of an idea that, at the time, was only a small pilot project in Lisbon, but also gave visibility to a social, environmental and economic problem experienced by most farmers”, added the DEM professor.

The involvement of the entire community that is part of the project – more than 6400 consumers and 257 producers – kept alive the hope of winning the LIFE Citizens’ Prize. “Winning the award in the “Environment” category was really a surprise and we are very proud”, says professor Inês Ribeiro.

The Técnico professor believes that, the fact that this project has a “very clear goal, which proposes a solution to solve the problem of food waste due to appearance” might have been a decisive factor that positively influenced the jury. “The project had practical results in reducing the waste of partner farmers, raised children’s awareness in Lisbon schools and had scientific results – an article published in the Journal of Cleaner Production and a MSc thesis at Técnico. The original estimates have been exceeded”, says professor Inês Ribeiro .

“These awards recognise the importance of our project and we hope to make the problem of food waste even more visible”, says professor Inês Ribeiro.

Besides professor Inês Ribeiro, the research team is composed of professor Paulo Peças and professor Elsa Henriques (DEM).

The LIFE awards recognise the most innovative, inspirational and effective LIFE projects in three categories: climate action, environment and nature protection.

The winning team was selected from 15 finalists, “for their exceptional contribution to environmental, economic and social progress”, and was considered “the most innovative, inspiring and effective team”.