Food wastage in Australia

Posted by Howard Elston on Sat 02 June 2018

Did you know about food wastage in Australia?

If wasting food was an Olympic sport, Australia would be on the medal podium along with the USA, according to Cool Australia. Although Aussies like winning medals in competitions, that’s not one to be proud of.

The facts please

Just the facts

Foodwise (Your site for sustainable food) collected some startling facts about how the average Australian family wastes food. 1. On average, Aussies throw out 20% of their grocery purchases (that’s one out of every five bags). In a year, that adds up to 4 million tonnes of food. 2. The wasted food fills 450,000 garbage trucks. 3. One third of food waste is fresh food while one quarter is leftover food.

And the problem is ...

What's the problem

Foodwise points out that wasting food is a significant waste of resources (and money). All the water, energy and resources needed to produce and transport that food from farm to home is needlessly wasted.

Dumping food in landfills doesn’t help either. When buried in a landfill, food and other organic materials rot, producing methane. Methane is the gas extracted from Bass Strait and piped to Melbourne homes as natural gas. Unfortunately, methane seeping out of a landfill goes into the atmosphere. Now it is free to act as a greenhouse gas with 25 times the potency of carbon dioxide. There is a direct link between dumping food and accelerating climate change.

There are solutions to this problem.

Everyone can help to reduce the amount of food waste in Australia. Foodwise offers a few simple suggestions to get started:

  1. Avoid purchasing excessive amounts of food that is later wasted
  2. Turn excess food into leftovers for a second meal.
  3. Identify ways of not wasting food that comes into the house. Foodwise has listed the most commonly wasted foodstuffs. For each one, there are recommendations for storage (keep fresh for longer) and cooking recipes (use the item rather than throw it out). One of my favourite meals is the “going away on holiday curry”. The day before we leave, all the vegetables that might go off while we’re away are made into a delicious curry. There’s usually more than we need so the leftovers are frozen to become a no-effort meal when we get back.
  4. Compost food scraps instead of putting them into the rubbish bin. Scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels are a valuable resource which can be composted and used to enrich the soil in a home garden.

If you’re interested in minimising food wastage in your home, Foodwise is a great place to look for ideas.

tags: food, waste