When it comes to food waste, Australians are some of the worst culprits with the latest National Waste Report finding food and garden organics make up about half of all kerbside garbage.1 Food organics were also noted by councils as a top 3 contaminant in the recycling bin.2
- Australians send 3.2 million tonnes of edible food to landfill each year, that’s close to 17,000 Boeing 747 jumbo jets3
- $1,026 each year4 is the cost of food waste for the average household, enough for a return flight to Fiji
- Food doesn’t belong in sealed landfills as they are anaerobic environments, meaning there is no oxygen available. In this environment organics rot and produce methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
- Food scraps and liquid also don’t belong in recycling as it can ruin your good efforts and prevent recyclables from being recycled.
If your workplace or business has large quantities of food scraps to recycle, visit BusinessRecycling.com.au to find suitable collection or pick up service options.
What are Food Scraps?
Food scraps include vegetables, fruit, tea, bread, cereals, eggshells, grains, meat and dairy products.
Composting food scraps at home, or using council collection services can:
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill
- reduce leachate production in landfills
The use of compost in gardening, landscaping, horticulture and agriculture can:
- reduce the amount of watering required
- reduce the amount of synthetic fertilisers needed
- improve the structure, fertility and health of soils
- help to repair soils suffering from poor management
How to reduce your food waste
No matter how careful we are, we'll always have some unavoidable food scraps such as vegetable peelings. With the right information, minimising your food waste can be easy:
- Try your hand at making stocks and condiments from the parts of your food usually going in the bin (eg. Apple cores).
- Freeze anything that you could eat or use at a later date.
- Donate excess edible food to a food distribution charity like Foodbank or OzHarvest.
- Always check your pantry and fridge before shopping.
- Write and stick to a shopping list of what you need.
- Avoid 2-for-1 deals if it means buying extra food you don’t need.
Composting and worm farming
Having your own compost bin, compost heap, worm farm or Bokashi bucket is a cheap, rewarding way to recycle your food scraps and garden cuttings. Worm farms can be kept in courtyards, balconies or even inside if space is limited. Many councils and community gardens run composting and worm farming workshops to help you get started. While many councils in Australia provide a kerbside collection service for garden cuttings, few currently offer food scrap collections. You could also try neighbourhood composting with ShareWaste.
Love Food Hate Waste
Visit the resource centre to find out more about home composting and worm farming.
1National Waste Report 2018
2National Recycling Week Council Survey 2018
3National Food Waste Baseline 2019
4Radbobank Food Waste Report 2019