Food belongs in bellies not rubbish bins. We all love our food, and yet globally one third of the food we grow for human consumption goes to waste.
THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT FOOD WASTE
Food waste takes many shapes and forms. A lot of food never actually makes it to our supermarket shelves in the first place, because it doesn't meet the stringent criteria of our retailers. We’re very picky when it comes to our expectations of ‘perfect food’, so items of the wrong size, colour or shape tend to be rejected.
Once in the supermarket, foods that are near the ‘best before’ date, tend to be discarded, despite still being perfectly edible.
And once food has arrived in our homes? Well, a huge amount goes off in the fridge, we don’t eat everything on our plates and send leftovers to landfill instead…
FOOD WASTE IN AUSTRALIA
1. 7.3 million tonnes of food is lost or wasted every year, enough to fill 13,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
2. While a large proportion of this food is still perfectly edible, around 5 million Australians are going hungry.
3. Up to 25% of all vegetables produced never leaves the farm.
4. Potatoes and bananas are the most commonly wasted produce. Approx. 37,000 tonnes of bananas are discarded from Australian farms every year.
5. 1,460 gigalitres of water is used annually to grow produce that is thrown out.
6. The economic cost of food wastage in Australia is estimated at more than $20 billion per year.
7. Food waste costs our farmers $2.84 billion annually.
VICTORIANS WASTE THE MOST :(
1. Each year, Victorians throw away 250,000 tonnes of food - enough to fill Melbourne’s Eureka Tower.
2. 65% of the food that is wasted in Victorian households could have been eaten.
3. On average, each Victorian household throws away $2,136 in food waste each year – that’s $42 a week!
4. Victoria wastes more food than any other state or territory in Australia.
5. 207 kilograms of waste is generated per person per year to feed Melbourne.
6. 40% of Melbourne’s food waste comes from our households, cafes and restaurants.
FOOD WASTE & CLIMATE CHANGE
In the US alone, the production of lost or wasted food generates the equivalent of 37 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions (WWF).
What’s more - food rotting in landfill produces methane - a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide.
LOCAL SOLUTIONS TO TACKLING FOOD WASTE
The Australian Government has committed to halving food waste by 2030. Our Council is working to slash the 45.5% of food waste in our landfill bins by introducing a Food & Green Organics bin for residents.
At Waste Wise Peninsula, we support these big goals by fighting food waste at a local level. We provide advice and support to our community, farmers and retailers to limit waste and rescue perfectly edible food.
Here’s our top tips to get you started!
The best way to reduce the impact of food waste is to not create it in the first place. Reducing your food waste is good for the planet and saves you big dollars. It often comes down to better planning and a few new recipes to create delicious meals with what you already have. Check out Sustainability Victoria’s fabulous Love Food Hate Waste campaign of plenty of great tips for households and a step by-step business program.
DIVERT FROM LANDFILL
Diverting food from landfill is one of the biggest changes you can make to reduce your footprint. Every tonne of food waste not sent to landfill saves nearly one ton of emissions. What’s more, when food goes to landfill, we lose the nutrients that are essential for plant growth - phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. There’s no substitute for these nutrients, so once they go to landfill, they are lost.
While local residents will soon have access to a Food and Green Organics (FOGO) bin, clubs, churches, businesses and education providers continue to send tons of food to landfill. Not good news for the planet, your reputation and your bottom line.
Here’s how you can make ONE.CHANGE. to divert food waste from landfill:
Setting up a compost bin or worm farm at your premises or in your garden is the perfect way to start!
Not only will this reduce your waste to landfill, it will improve your soil structure and nutrient levels, and compost mulch will trap moisture in your soil and save water.
Macerators are grinders that turn solid food waste into pulp. The pulp is greatly reduced in volume and gets pumped into a tank ready for collection by a contractor. Note, some fibrous materials (e.g. mussel shells) are not suitable for macerators.
COMMERCIAL COMPOSTING (BUSINESSES)
You can use a food collection service where a commercial contractor transports your waste to a processing facility.
FOOD RESCUE (BUSINESSES)
There are some great options for local businesses to donate food not being used, before it turns to waste.
The groups listed here save surplus food & deliver to charities that help people in need.