Oct. 21, 2010

Love Food Hate Waste

Who doesn’t love food? Well it appears many of us. Although we may think we love food we are actually wasting it in very large amounts. Food waste is the single largest component of the household waste bin in NSW (unless of course you’re part of the Compost Revolution).

The three councils have recently become partners with the NSW Government’s Love Food Hate Waste program which means we will be focusing on creating a new relationship with food in the Eastern Suburbs. Think growing local, purchasing ethically through buyers groups and food co-ops, storing and preserving, not wasting and turning our scraps back into soil to grow more food. Let’s make it happen.

The average NSW household throws away $1,036 a year but waste food also means wasted resources, all the water, energy, materials and fuel used to harvest, transport, process, package, distribute and market wasted food is also wasted. That’s at the production end of food, at the other end when it ends up in landfill wasted food breaks down anaerobically producing methane - a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

A bin audit of households in Waverley and Randwick Council areas showed that food waste makes up around 44% of the average bin, a more detailed analysis showed that of this 44% about 57% was meal leftovers and 8% was still packaged or untouched.

By being less wasteful, you can save money and reduce your impact on the environment. Love Food Hate Waste is about providing you with practical tips and tools you can use every day like planning your meals, preparing a shopping list, and learning how to best store your food.

Explore the Love Food Hate Waste website for how your household can avoid food waste. Visit: www.lovefoodhatewaste.nsw.gov.au

Tackling the food waste problem is not just beginning around here and nor is it an isolated issue. The food waste problem is linked to the way our food is packaged, where and how we grow it, our buying and eating habits and even things like the way our cities are planned.  Below are a few things happening in the Eastern Suburbs that address food waste.

The Compost Revolution trial project involved 580 households learning how to compost or wormfarm and then measuring and recording the food waste the put into their compost or wormfarm. Through doing this about 80% of participants found that as well as composting their unavoidable food waste they actually cut down on the food waste they created as they became more in touch which their food.

Many schools have started “Waste Free Wednesdays” or “nude food days”, whilst this is focused more on the packaging of food it’s all related and by bringing lunches to school that are not packaged often the food is healthier, in more suitable portions and not wasted. Students are generally  required to take home anything in their lunch box that’s not eaten which helps to show parents what is not getting eaten and why.

PhD student Nathalie Jean-Baptise conducted a study with 26 households in the area where they weighed all their compostable and non-compostable food for a week and recorded what types of food they were wasting.  She found that cooked rice, milk and juice were the most common items that were avoidable and discarded in the bin

Rhubarb Food Co-op is a new and evolving Co-op in the Eastern Suburbs and soon you will be able to purchase organic food in the amounts you want without packaging to help reduce over cooking or letting food go to waste.

Oz Harvest operates in our area, Oz Harvest redistributes food that would otherwise be thrown away to people who need it. The recently announced they have delivered 6,000,000 meals. If you are having a function and would like to donate 'unexpected overs' please ring us on 9516 3877 to arrange collection (only food from professionally catered events is accepted not from home cooking)

Do you have any comments or ideas on how we can create a Love Food Hate Waste culture in the Eastern Suburbs?

If you have an everyday sustainable story to tell, email 400 words and a photo to info@reduceyourfootprint.com.au - receive a solar battery charger for every story published.


  • Would be great if we could get biodegradable bags (as Penrith Council are supplying their residents) so the food my worms don't eat can be used for compost ; )

  • Hi Mandie, unfortunately it's not as simple as just getting biodegradeable bags. The green waste collection in Randwick and Waverley Councils (if that's where you are) doesn't go to a facility where you can add food scraps for it to be composted. It is turned into mulch instead and biodegradeable bags would probably get caught in the machinery and break it.

    What the councils need to be able to do that is a different waste service and contract so that separated food waste (possibly with garden waste) could be collected and sent to an industrial composter to be made into high quality compost for agriculture.

    What you can do individually for the moment is let your Councillors and Mayor know that people want this service, try and cut down on your food waste (see the LFHW website above), and take any leftover food scraps you have to a nearby communal compost bin or community garden.


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