Food waste has become a growing issue in Australia (and around the world). With a variety of options in the supermarket and the need to overstock on food, many of us find we are throwing large portions of perfectly edible food into the general waste bin. In fact, over 7.6 million tonnes of food is wasted in Australia each year, according to The Age. In this blog, we have shared some must-know food waste statistics, plus some tips on what you can do to reduce your food waste. Read on to learn more.
- Why is food waste a problem in Australia?
- How does food waste affect the environment?
- Food waste statistics in Australia
- Global food waste statistics
- What you can do to reduce your food waste
Why is food waste a problem in Australia?
Whether you have a large family or a two person household, many Australians are buying more food than they need during weekly shops, as well as taking larger portions of food than they can handle. Plus, it’s far too easy to just throw your unused foods in the bin, making this bad habit hard to kick. According to The Guardian, the equivalent of one full shopping bag of food is wasted per week, and it’s usually edible too. Not only is this a waste of money, but it’s also having devastating effects on the environment.
What are the top 5 wasted foods in Australia?
The most commonly wasted foods in Australia include:
How does food waste affect the environment?
Because food waste is considered organic, many people do not see the issue with disposing of their food. However, when it is disposed of in the landfill, organic waste produces a toxic greenhouse gas called methane that seeps into the environment and contributes towards global warming. Methane is even 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, according to Environment Victoria. However, methane can also be highly valuable when it’s used to create compost and soil.
Food waste statistics in Australia
Here are some national food waste statistics in Australia, according to Food Bank:
- 7.6 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year, and 70% of this is edible
- Australian households are the main source of food wastage, equating to 2.46 million tonnes
- Australians throw away one full bag of groceries each week, equaling to 312 kg per person.
- Food wastage costs households around $2,000-$2,500 per year and costs the economy $36.6 billion
- 25% of water usage is wasted to grow food that gets disposed of
- Australia’s food wastage contributes to 3% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions
- 17.5 million tonnes of CO2-e is generated from food that’s been produced and disposed of each year
- The amount of water used to produce food equals the volume of water held in the five Sydney harbours, around 2600 gigaliters.
Global food waste statistics
Food waste is also a global issue, here are some important statistics, according to Food Bank:
- The planet has enough food for every person, although 1 in 9 people are left hungry every day
- Global food waste contributes to 8% of greenhouse gas emissions every year
- Food insecurity affects more than 30% of the world’s population
- 30% of agricultural land is used to produce food that is gone to waste
- The COVID-19 pandemic has left 660 million people until 2030
- Approximately 45% of fruits and vegetables in the world go to waste each year
- Global food wastage costs around $990 billion each year
- In 2020, it was found that 768 million people in the world are malnourished and a healthy diet is unattainable for 3 billion people
What you can do to reduce your food waste
Now that you know all the detrimental effects food waste is having on the population and the environment, the best thing to do is to implement some easy tips that will help you reduce your food waste.
When people are doing their weekly shopping trips, it can be easy to buy more food than they need. However, it’s been shown that bulk-buying leads, according to The University of Arizona.
To avoid overpaying on your groceries, it’s recommended to go on frequent shopping trips and buy small amounts as you need them. However, make sure you have used all the food you purchased in your last shopping trip, instead of buying more groceries for the sake of it.
It’s also a great idea to plan ahead and create a shopping list, this will avoid you from buying things on impulse.
Store your food correctly
Storing your food improperly leads to a large amount of waste. The main problem here is that people haven’t learnt how to properly store their food, especially fruits and vegetables.
Not all fruits and vegetables go in the fridge. For example, potatoes, onions, garlic, pumpkin, and tomatoes. For these, you can just simply place these in a basket in the pantry.
Vegetables that need to be refrigerated include leafy greens, cucumbers, celery, carrots, capsicums, and cruciferous vegetables. Most fruits don’t need to be refrigerated, besides apples, cherries, grapefruit, pineapples, watermelon, strawberries, and tangerines. To store these, place them in a container with an air vent. Otherwise, you can purchase specific vegetable storage bags to keep them fresh.
Use your freezer
Freezers are great for storing a wide variety of foods for a long period of time. Some things you can put into your freezer include bread, meat, fish, berries, rice, pizza, frozen vegetables, and ready-to-cook meals.
You can also cook large batches of meals and store them in the freezer. This also is a great way to use up those leftovers that usually go in the bin.
Create a meal plan
Not only is meal planning a great way to make sure you are making healthy meals, but it also prevents you from overbuying ingredients at the supermarket. You can also create a meal plan that uses similar ingredients, so you won’t be spending too much on a range of different ingredients.
If you find you have leftover food that is no longer edible, a great way to recycle this is by using it for compost. This is also a great way to ensure your food doesn’t end up in landfill. You can choose from small or large compost containers that can go into your backyard. However, you can also purchase small composting containers if you have limited space. This compost will help to create soil that can be used for plants in your garden.
Learn more: Home composting: how to compost garden waste
And, just remember in case you have too much food waste, you can always hire a skip bin from a local skip bin company (like Just Skips!). You can choose from three handy skip bin sizes, including 4m³, 6m³ and 9m³. Plus, if you have any leftover waste around the house, such as green waste, boxes, bricks, clothes and furniture, you can always hire a skip bin for your specific waste types. This is just an easy alternative if you have too much waste on your hands.
Stay on top of your food waste with Just Skips
Now that you’re aware of these insightful food waste statistics, there’s no better time than now to start reducing your food waste. And, in the event that you have too much leftover food and other waste, you can order a general waste skip bin in Adelaide.
At Just Skips, we are committed to correctly disposing of your waste. That’s why we offer a variety of skip bins for different waste types, including dirt, sand and soil, brick and concrete, green waste, and more! If you have any enquiries about ordering a skip bin, please contact us today.
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