Food waste

in Australia this year

$

Food wastage

in Australia today

$

Food-related carbon emissions

in Australia this year

tonnes

Food-related carbon emissions

in Australia today

tonnes

Buy right, eat right!

Purchasing more than we need and eating more calories than we require can have effects on our environment. The topics below have been designed to guide us in what we can do for the health of our planet regarding our food choices.

Did you know?

• That Australians throw out around $5.2 billion worth of food each year (1)
• Over half of the food thrown out is fresh food (e.g. fruit and vegetables) (2)
• A total of 3.3 million tonnes of food is delivered to the landfill each year (3)

Just purchase what you need

Our current food supply system produces a significant amount of uneaten food. The more unnecessary food we buy, the more we are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, transport, processing and storage of food.(1) When food is thrown out and sent to the landfill, it decomposes and in the process releases methane, a gas with a more potent global warming potential than carbon dioxide.(1) It is for these reasons that we should simply purchase what we need. Below are some suggestions you can follow to help you reduce your food waste.

Tips to reduce food waste:

  • Plan meals ahead of time and buy only what you need for your planned menu
  • Look in your fridge to see what ingredients you have before going shopping for more ingredients
  • Avoid throwing out leftovers; take them for lunch the next day or try incorporating them into another meal
  • Store foods properly
  • Think about sharing dishes when eating out, as restaurant meal sizes can be quite large, or consider ordering an entrée sized meal
  • Compost left over fruit, vegetables and grains.  Click here for more information on composting.

Avoid eating more than your body requires

“Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” (Pollan, 2008; front cover)(4)

plate - reduce over consumptionIn Australia, it is now more common to be overweight than a healthy weight. Sixty-one per cent of the Australian adult population and 25 per cent of children aged 5 to 17 years are overweight or obese.(5) Eating too many foods that are high in fat and/or sugar but are low in vitamins, minerals and fibre contributes to this problem in Australia. In addition, these foods are often highly processed, which means that a lot more energy has gone into making the product, compared with more natural foods, such as fresh fruit.(6) The extra processing that has gone into the product produces carbon emissions, through the preparation, transport and storage of the product.(6) By eating less of the foods that produce high carbon emissions and that contribute to health problems (such as overweight and obesity), we can significantly decrease our carbon footprint.

The livestock industry is another major contributor to global warming and a significant user of water.(7) Learn more about the environmental benefits of eating sustainable protein sources.

Tips to reduce overconsumption:

  • Eat only what you need to maintain a healthy weight
  • Consider the size of your food and drink serves when at home or eating out
  • Listen to your stomach – eat slowly and stop when you are full (8)
  • Reduce consumption of high fat and/or high sugar foods that are low in other nutrients

References

  1. Baker D, Fear J, Denniss R. What a waste: an analysis of household expenditure on food [internet]. 2009 [cited 2010 Jul 19]. Available from:http://zerowaste.sa.gov.au/Content/Uploaded/Assets/What_a_waste_foodwaste_australia.pdf
  2. Dietitians Association of Australia. DAA fact sheet: stop food waste [internet]. n.d. [cited 2010 Jul 19]. Available from:http://www.daa.asn.au/files/Interest_Groups_National/FEIG_DAA_Food_waste_fact_sheet.pdf
  3. Hamilton C, Denniss R, Baker D. Wasteful consumption in Australia: discussion paper number 77 [internet]. 2005 [cited 2010 Feb 9]. Available from:https://www.tai.org.au/file.php?file=discussion_papers/DP77.pdf
  4. Pollan M. In defence of food: an eater’s manifesto. New York: Penguin Press; 2008.
  5. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Social Trends, Sep 2009 [internet]. 2009 [cited 2010 Jan 21]. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features20Sep+2009
  6. Gaballa S, Abraham A B. Food miles in Australia: a preliminary study of Melbourne, Victoria [internet]. 2008 [cited 2008 Jun 20]. Retrieved from:http://www.ceres.org.au/sites/default/files/CERES_Report_%20Food_Miles_in_Australia_March08.pdf
  7. Food and Agriculture Organisation. Livestock’s long shadow: environmental issues and options [internet]. 2006 [cited 2010 Feb 10]. Retrieved from:ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a0701e/a0701e00.pdf
  8. Dietitians Association of Australia. Eating Out [internet]. 2010 [cited 2010 Jul 26]. Retrieved from: http://www.daa.asn.au/index.asp?pageID=2145843700
Made by QMG