Food waste

in Australia this year


Food wastage

in Australia today


Food-related carbon emissions

in Australia this year


Food-related carbon emissions

in Australia today


Green kitchen considerations

How we prepare our food can influence our individual carbon footprint through our use of water and kitchen appliances. Minimise your footprint with these helpful tips!

Water use in the kitchen

Did you know?

Australia, with its low average rainfall and very high evaporation, is the driest inhabited continent the world. Yet, Australians are the highest per capita users of water in the world using 2.3 times the global average.(1)

Just a dripping tap in the kitchen can waste up to 50 litres of water per day.(2)

The kitchen is a major consumer of water in the home. Of total household water , 10% is used for cooking, cleaning, washing or drinking.(3)

Myth: Household water usage has little impact on Australia total water usage.
Fact: Households water accounts for 11% of total water use in Australia! (4)

Saving Power Image 2Tips on how to save water in the kitchen

  • Put a plug in the sink when rinsing vegetables or fruit, rather than using a running tap
  • Soak your pots and pans rather than rinsing under the tap
  • Wash your fruit and vegetables in a half filled sink rather than under running water
  • Collect the cold water from the tap while you’re waiting for it to heat up and use elsewhere later.
  • Purchase the most water efficient dishwasher. Find out more about the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme and it’s five star rating for appliances
  • To reduce the amount of water used in dishwashers:
    • Completely fill it before use
    • Use the economy setting
    • Scrape dishes rather than rinsing under the tap
  • Look for and fix leaking or dripping kitchen taps

For more tips on saving water, visit the Queensland Water Commission website

Energy use in food preparation and storage


RefrigeratorNearly 17% of all household greenhouse gas emissions in Australia in 2000 were generated by refrigerators and freezers.(5)

In Australia the average household has 1.3 refrigerators.(6)

Households that dispose of a second fridge save an average of $190 a year in electricity bills and eight tonnes of greenhouse gases.(7)

Keeping refrigerators defrosted and at the right temperature also decreases their energy use.(8)

The maintenance of appliances is also important. Damaged fridge seals, for example, can dramatically increase the electricity required to run them.(8)

Kitchen Considerations Image 1Cooking Methods

The choice of cooking method can be important, with pressure cookers, microwaves and electric fry pans being more energy efficient than ovens.(9)

The benefits of a microwave oven

  • You will save around 75% of energy used
  • Food cooks faster
  • Foods, other than those with a high fat or sugar content, cannot burn
  • Your oven (and kitchen) stays cool
  • Food retains more vitamins
  • You can defrost quickly and safely
  • Combination microwave/convection ovens allow the browning of food (10)

Other small kitchen appliances

  • Electric Frypans – can cook most things you would cook in an oven or on a stove and they are generally much cheaper to run
  • Toaster Ovens  – can roast, toast and brown small amounts of food quickly and cheaply
  • Mini Convection Ovens – small versions of fan-forced ovens. They are compact, easy to use and cheap to run.
  • Electric kettles - boil water much faster and more efficiently than boiling on stove, resulting in good savings if you like your cuppa. Use a kettle which shows the water level and boil only the amount you need.
  • Slow Cookers – uses low heat to slowly cook without much supervision, so may be left unattended for long periods.
  • Pressure Cookers – conserve energy and preserve all of the goodness in food. They cook in one third the normal time.(9)

Woman with dishwasherTips on how to save energy in the kitchen:

  • Choose energy efficient appliances
  • Maintain equipment, especially your refrigerator seals
  • Maximise your use of energy efficient cooking methods such as microwaves, electric fry pans and pressure cookers
  • Fully load your dishwasher before use
  • Place your refrigerator in a cool, well ventilated position
  • Keep your refrigerator frost free and the right temperature ie 4 degrees C, with the freezer between -15 degrees C and -18 degrees C


  1. Melbourne Water. Australia: the driest continent. [internet]. 2008 [cited 2010 Jul 15]. Available from:
  2. Monash University. Tips for Greening Your Kitchen. [internet]. 2007 [cited 2010 Jul 15]. Available from:
  3. Save Water. Saving water in the kitchen. [internet]. 2010 [cited 2010 Jul 19]. Available from:
  4. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Sustainability Tips. [internet]. 2007 [cited 2010 Jul 15]. Available from:
  5. Australian Greenhouse Office. Retrospective Analysis of theImpacts of Energy Labelling and MEPS: Refrigerators and Freezers. [internet]. 2006 [cited 2010 Jul 15]. Available from:
  6. Environment Victoria. The energy you use at home. [internet]. 2010 [cited 2010 Jul 15]. Available from:
  7. Pitwater Council. A Leader in Fridge Buybacks. [internet]. 2009 [cited 2010 Jul 15]. Available from:
  8. Monash University. Tips for Greening Your Kitchen. [internet]. 2007 [cited 2010 Jul 15]. Available from:
  9. Energy Australia. Cooking up energy savings in the kitchen. [internet]. 2008 [cited 2010 Jul 15]. Available from:
  10. Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure, Government of South Australia. Other Appliances. [internet] 2010 [cited 2010 Jul 20]. Available from:
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