UPDATE 2018: If you want to find out how you can reduce your own food waste, check out our new blog post.

Australia has a serious food wastage problem! In a country where 2 million people seek food relief each year, as much as 20% of food purchased in Australia is thrown away annually – that is one out of every five bags of groceries bought. Australia alone discards up to $8 billion worth of edible food each year. With over 8% of the population in need of food at some point each year, this excessive food wastage is extremely problematic.

Food wastage- at what cost?

While some Australians love leftovers, repurposing food and spending as little as possible on groceries, this is not the attitude of many Australian citizens. According to ASIC’s MoneySmart website, the average family spends $279 a week on food and drink. Considering the fact that each household throws out at least $1036 of groceries each year, Australians need to be more aware of their purchasing habits and begin reusing and repurposing their leftover food items instead of buying more food.

Why waste?

Australians may not intend to waste food – they may simply forget that they already have lettuce in the fridge and buy another head, or accidentally purchase too much milk because it was part of a two for one special – however we are seeing an increase in food wastage each year. Australians throw out $10 billion of food every year, and four million tonnes of food ends up in landfill annually, according to OzHarvest.

This is not only worsening the hidden hunger problem in Australia, it is also putting devastating pressures on the environment. When our food ends up in a landfill, it can’t decompose naturally and it releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is detrimental to the environment and a massive player in climate change.

Food production also requires enormous amounts of resources. When food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production are also lost. According to OzHarvest, it takes “1,000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk and about 16,000 litres goes into a cow’s food to make a hamburger. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions from the cows themselves, and throughout the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food.”

Food wastage, groceries, landfill, environment, food waste, Australia

Food wastage is a huge problem in Australia.

How can we help?

There is a movement towards food consumption awareness and many Australians are passionately trying to reduce their food wastage. Simple things can be done by households and individuals, such as recycling and composting, as well as ensuring that leftovers are maximised and new food isn’t unnecessarily purchased.

Charity efforts are also incredibly important to food wastage, as they serve to provide hungry Australians with the unwanted food from large Australian supermarkets. Large supermarkets have “quality” guidelines on food that can and can’t be sold, according to appearance, size and quality. For example, a banana that is too small or an apple that is not green enough won’t be sold. There are charities serve to collect the food deemed “unsellable” by these large corporations, as well as any food excess caused by overproduction or lack of demand, and give them to individuals and families in need.

Our latest Noble Cause, N.E.E.D.S, is a small charity with one incentive – to provide Australians experiencing challenges such as hunger and financial hardship with resources such as food to alleviate their struggle. We are donating $1500 to this cause, so that they can purchase a transport van to carry all of the excess food they collect from the large supermarkets. If you would like to help with this cause and contribute to lessening food wastage in Austalia, log in or sign up to donate.

UPDATE 2018: If you want to find out how you can reduce your own food waste, check out our new blog post.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.