Reducing Food Waste

New Zealanders throw away 122,547 tonnes of food a year. That is equivalent to 213 jumbo jets of food that has to go somewhere to rot, instead of being eaten.

All of this food is worth about $872 million each year. That amount of food could feed the population of Dunedin for two years!

Food waste is a problem because: 

  • It often ends up in landfill, where it decomposes without oxygen, and as a result, it releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest producer of carbon emissions behind China and the United States.

  • The more food  we waste, the more food we need to produce. This puts pressure on the environment. For example, 25 million acres of land are deforested each year in order to grow food. 

  • When we waste food, all of the resources that went into growing and making it go to waste.  Consider this: 25% of all fresh water consumed each year is used to produce food that goes to waste; 300 million barrels of oil are used each year to produce food that goes to waste

Here are a few tips on reducing food waste: 

  • Get better at meal planning - know what you're eating, when and how much you need. Shop for what you need, eat what you've got, and freeze the rest. 

  • Don't shop hungry, and shop with a list so you don't get lured into buying more than you need. 

  • Don't be too scared off by Best Before dates. Just because it's past, doesn't mean it's dangerous. Expiry and Use By dates probably should be respected though. 

  • Make bigger dinners so you can pack some for lunch to save yourself money.

  • Make bigger dinners to freeze for those days when you're too tired to cook. 

  • Master the art of preserving - Google is full of good ideas on everything from preserving peaches to brewing kimchi to boiling a good jam. 

  • Grow it yourself - pick only what you need from the garden rather than having to buy it in bunches or bulk. Herbs in particular are easy to grow even in a small space and something you only need a little of but often have to buy in a bunch.

Read more on Love Food Hate Waste NZ, including facts and figures, more tips and recipes. 

Victoria StarkComment