- Australians are still wasting $6 billion of food each year - enough to feed the entire nation for three weeks. - Current research suggests the majority of food thrown away is fresh fruit and vegetables. - Meat, fish, bread, dairy produce, rice and pasta are all in the ‘top’ most wasted foods. - The two main reasons for food wastage is that people ‘cook or prepare too much’ or ‘don’t use food before its use-by date’. - A 2005 study by The Australia Institute estimated that food waste was costing Australians $5.3 billion per year. - The Australian 2006 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory report stated methane emissions from solid waste disposal on land were equivalent to 13.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. - According to CSIRO data, dumping a kilogram of beef wastes the 50,000 litres of water it took to produce that meat; throwing out a kilogram of white rice will waste 2,385 litres and wasting a kilogram of potatoes costs 500 litres.
“Australians throw away food because we forget about it,” says Jon Dee, environmentalist and founder of Planet Ark. “We leave it lingering in the depths of our fridges and cupboards, unused and unloved. When we do use it, we use too much and even then we don’t use the leftovers.” “It’s an approach to food that anathema to older generations. Their cooking of leftovers was the earliest form of recycling. They used up every scrap of food, because they valued it. Today that attitude has changed but it’s vital that we change it back.” “When food waste rots in landfill it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than the CO2 pouring out of your car’s exhaust,” explains Jon. “If we don’t mend our wasteful ways, we’ll be eating ourselves out of an environment that can sustainably support future generations of Australians.”
I put my hand up. I'm guilty. I throw away those too-brown bananas when I probably should make banana cake. But the equivalent of 1 bag out of 5?? And here I was feeling all holier-than-thou because at least I compost them!!! Or feed the left overs to the pups.
That's madness!! Ethically AND financially!
Statistics show Sydneysiders are the worst food waste offenders, with some bins containing nearly 50 percent food. Victorians and South Australians are throwing out approximately 40 percent and in the ACT, a November 2007 study found that homes were throwing out 4.2 kilograms of food every week – up from 3.7 kilograms in 2004.
I am going to have a good hard look at my food wastage, in the light of these CSIRO stats and report back.
What are YOU doing to minimise your food wastage?
ED TO ADD: The best suggestions of how to minimise food wastage posted here as comments, may be published on The Notebook website next month and will be eligible to win a prize!