Whether you live in Australia, the United States or Great Britain, it’s well known that Western consumers on average produce a lot of food-related waste—from organic matter to packaging. For example, Australians throw out more than $5 billion worth of unused food each year, which is more than it costs to run the Australian Army!
Why wasting food is bad
Food that is tossed out gets added to landfill, incinerated, or stuffed into garbage disposals connected to sewerage systems. In landfills, it decomposes, generating methane, a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide in its impact on climate change! Every kilogram of food waste added to landfill creates the equivalent of a kilogram of greenhouse gases.
Valuable resources such as energy and water used to grow, package, transport and store the food are also lost. While a little food waste is inevitable, say banana peels or egg shells, we could all do better with how we care for the food we already have.
How to save food
- Check use-by dates and plan your weekly meals based on what you already have in the fridge or freezer
- Purchase only the missing ingredients to complement your current stock, and store any leftovers appropriately.
- Buy in bulk with minimal packaging, and store in smaller portions when you get home.
- Transfer nuts, fruits, yogurt, etc., into smaller reusable containers for lunch boxes.
- Compost vegetable scraps, flower cuttings, tea bags, etc., or use a worm farm (compact systems are available for apartment dwellers).
- Grow herbs on your balcony or plant a vegetable patch, and use the food you grow as it’s needed. Or join a community garden.
- For more great ideas on how to prevent food waste in your home visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com.