MANY people blame supermarkets or restaurants as being the biggest source of food waste.
But, in reality, it’s Australian households that waste the most food – on average, one kilogram or 5.46 litres per person per week.
This adds up to more than food services, hospitality and institutions (e.g. supermarkets, hospitals and nursing homes) put together.
So how much does this cost?
The average Australian household is throwing away 13 per cent of their weekly grocery spend, equating to $1,026 each year.
What is household food waste?
Food waste comes from two sources: preparing and cooking food; and food we buy to eat but then throw away because it was out of date, stale, too soft or hard to eat anymore.
Some food waste is normal because it’s not edible (e.g. shells, skins, bones, vegetable and fruit trimmings, cores, peels, pips, stones and seeds).
But a lot of food waste can be avoided with small changes to shopping and cooking habits.
How can I save on my grocery bills?
Here are six tips to help save money and reduce food waste:
- Plan around your pantry.
Write a weekly meal plan by first checking your fridge and pantry for food that needs to be used up, then plan meals that include this food.
Make a shopping list only after meal planning for the week, and only buy what you need.
- Shop smart.
Buy in season, and only buy smaller amounts of food that goes off quickly.
Buy bulk sizes or items on special only for food that lasts a long time or be ready to freeze it as soon as you get home (write the purchase date on it).
Check that the special price really is a good deal by checking the sale price per kilogram is cheaper than a similar product not on special.
- Storing food.
When putting shopping away, put it behind the food that needs to be used up first.
‘Use by’ dates must be followed, but ‘best before’ dates mean the food won’t taste 100 per cent fresh after this date.
- Check your fridge.
Is it at the right temperature (between one and five degrees)?
Follow the rules for storing food (e.g. do the vegetables need to be in bags in the crisper or do they sweat and go off quicker in bags?).
Measure the amount of pasta or rice you eat in one meal and write it down to avoid cooking too much next time.
Pasta and rice are two of the most common food waste items, along with bread, milk, potatoes, cheese and salad leaves.
Put bread in the freezer and only pull it out when needed.
- Love your leftovers.
Cook meals that can be easily turned into a new main meal with simple changes (e.g. a new sauce/gravy or put in a pie).
Or use it up as a side dish for the next night, put in lunchboxes, or keep in a big tub (like an ice-cream or yoghurt container) in the freezer.
Keep adding leftovers to this tub and when it is full, turn it into stock or soup.
Small changes to reduce food waste can add up to big savings at home, but will also help the environment.
Currently, 5.3 million tonnes of food waste goes into Australian landfills each year, taking up landfill space and producing large amounts of greenhouse gases.
Many Australian local councils, including Glenorchy City Council, have introduced FOGO to stop food waste going into landfill.
FOGO is a food and green waste kerbside collection service that turns this waste back into compost for agricultural use.
For more tips on reducing food waste and a template meal planner, visit Glenorchy City Council’s waste website at www.wastestartswithyou.com.au.
Caption: Glenorchy Mayor Kristie Johnston putting her FOGO caddy to good use.