Why the waste?
Buying too much food isn’t the only issue when it comes to food waste in Australia. Here are three of the main culprits.
1. Ugly fruit and veg
Strict guidelines and laws around produce mean that between 20-40% doesn’t even make it to the shelves. In 2015 Coles and Woolworths brought in the sale of “ugly fruit and vegetables” to combat this issue but there’s still a lot more work to be done.
The fishing industry is also to blame for food wastage with 20,000 tonnes or approximately 60% of the fish caught in our oceans is discarded because they are the wrong size, species or due to government regulations.
Ever purchased something in perfect condition off the discount shelf because it was about to “expire”? You’re not alone, incorrect food labelling means that perfectly good food is discarded. Apps like YWaste connect consumers with cafes and restaurants who sell delicious food for a portion of the price at the end of the day.
But aside from the mammoth cost to the economy what impact does it have on our environment? When food waste ends up in landfill it creates a toxic greenhouse gas called methane that is 25 times more potent than carbon.
How do you reduce food waste in your household?
Reducing the amount of food you waste at home is actually easier than you think. Here are a couple of my favourite tips and tricks for reducing waste:
- Stick to your list: before heading to the supermarket write a list, double-check you haven’t already got the ingredient and when you’re at the supermarket stick to the list.
- Use it all: set yourself the challenge of using as much of your vegetables, fruits and meat as you can. This could mean using your carrot heads to make a vegetable broth or making your own apple cider vinegar with apple skins.
- Bulk isn’t always best: As tempting as it is to bulk buy to save a few bucks, is it worth it if you won’t use the excess and it’ll end up in the trash. Buy what you need.
- Store food properly: extend the shelf-life of your food by storing it properly in air-tight containers or wrapping your veg in a moist cloth or better yet freezing it before it expires.
- Compost: put your food waste to good use and stop it from going to landfill by composting. If you don’t have a compost bin, download the ShareWaste app which will help connect you with neighbours in your area who have a compost bin or worm farm.