Every year Australians throw away an estimated 3.1 million tonnes or $8 billion of food. Wasted food is not only a waste of money, it's a waste of the resources used to grow, harvest, transport, process, store and distribute food. In landfill, food scraps break down and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas, while producing liquid waste known as leachate that can impact on the environment.
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. There are many things you can do such as: work out a weekly meal plan for your household; make a shopping list and stick to it; store your food appropriately to keep it fresher for longer; know how much food to cook for each person; think of tasty ways to use your leftovers.
For more information on how to reduce your food waste, visit the Australian Government's Living Greener website.
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.
See Planet Ark's Reducing Food Waste and Recycling Food Scraps Factsheet (download from Resources below) for further information about what you can do.
Visit the resource centre to find out more about home composting and worm farming.