Food waste: the Australian picture

03 May 2018
Something a little different today. I was doing some research on current statistics into food waste in Australia and I found this interesting infographic. So, I thought I'd share it with you.

There is a lot of information in the pic so I'll leave it at that today. I am planning to write a little more on this topic so consider it a teaser....

Update 29 May 2018: Here is the full food waste series
Intro: Part 1
Reduce: Part 2
Reuse: Part 3
Recycle: Part 4


Do Something About Food Waste
Do Something About Food Waste infographic by lunchalot

Do these statistics shock you?
No one's perfect of course but do you struggle with food waste or feel you have it pretty in hand?

12 comments

  1. Laura there is much 'food for thought' in your post and we must all try to reduce food waste.
    When I was a child in the late 50's early 60's no such thing as 'Best Before' or 'Use By'.
    We ate food in cans or jars with no dates on them and we ate 'ugly' fruit and vegetables too.
    I think this has to be a marketing ploy to encourage us to buy more food we don't really need.

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    1. Hey Merryl, yes I think a lot of people rely on those dates but don't use their common sense - best before will not go off it'll just not be as 'good' (as decided by the marketing department no doubt), use by will spoil but on many products you can do the old sniff test before turfing half a carton of milk that is all good but has just past the date stamp - it's not like it's an actual timer!!
      The amount of waste pre-consumer is pretty crazy, especially when it comes to the 'ugly' fruit and veg.
      Cheers,
      Laura

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  2. The amount of food wasted in Australia doesn't surprise me, Laura. It's just crazy! While nowhere near perfect, a couple of things work well here. Hubby does a bit of a fridge audit on weekend and leys me know what needs using up. I make frittatas or big stirfries with anything that needs using in the crisper. And we have compost bins and a worm farm system too. Leftovers become lunch the next day and if there's not enough I bolster that with a salad. Meg☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's sad but yes, probably not surprising. We do many of the same things around here.
      Cheers,
      Laura

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  3. This is a favourite subject of mine. It is just myself and my husband at home, and he cleans his plate every single night! Any leftovers on my plate are either lunch for me the next day or the dogs get it for their dinner.All scraps go into our composting bin. The only time I can waste food is when it disappears to the back of the fridge and I forget it is there. All my containers are clear so it is easy to see what is in there but on the odd occassion it does get pushed to the back of the fridge and sits there for too long!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I get so annoyed when I find those back of the fridge items! But hey, we are all human right.
      Cheers,
      Laura

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  4. That's what chickens are for, lol. ;) They get all our food scraps, and we get new food in the form of eggs. But not everyone can have chickens. In that case, there are worm farms too - they get all your food scraps, and you get free fertiliser for your garden, or houseplants.

    I get frustrated with statistics, because they only share a fragment of the story. In this case, we're supposed to see food waste as avoidable. When in reality, nature subsists and expands, purely on waste. Every living creature, has the obligation to create waste in their daily existence. It's how we treat that waste, however, which becomes the problem. Landfill, en masse, is not a good way to treat it.

    I do like the underlying message of the graphic though. It encourages people to consider what they're consuming at the front-end, and if they can change some of their habits. I'm not suggesting it's a bad thing. But it doesn't deal with waste as a resource, either, or how to value-add your waste, so it can be processed as an asset to natural systems.

    Can you imagine what 450,000 dump trucks of organic matter, could do for our soils, if processed the right way? See how it changes the message. We go from useless consumers, to producers of natural resources. All while understanding there's a cycle of food production involved beyond the checkout, and landfill. How can we take part in that? It's certainly a responsibility if we eat.

    By the way, I appreciate your bringing it up as a topic. Maybe this is some of the stuff you're going to touch on too?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love this point Chris. It's a valuable piece of the puzzle that is missed. I think it's also a much more empowering narrative as well - some food waste is unavoidable, here are the things you can do to avoid it as much as possible BUT when it does occur it's actually a valuable resource and here is how you can turn it into that. Sadly with our current system it is turned into waste rather than a resource.
      When I lived in Adelaide they had a green organic waste collection and you could include all food scraps, food soiled paper/cardboard and many things that could be added to compost. This was a great option for people without chooks or an at home food waste system. I'm not sure how utilised it was though.
      There doesn't seem to be much information or education from this angle of things. Thanks for raising this really valuable point.
      Cheers,
      Laura

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  5. It is very sad, Laura. Our scraps go into the compost heap. When I was growing up in the 1950s there was no food waste and times have changed so much.

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    1. Times have definitely changed and in the case of food waste (and waste in general) not for the better. My four year old is intrigued by the garbage truck and it was interesting trying to explain to her what happens to all the stuff in the truck - how do you explain the logic behind throwing things in a giant hole in the ground??
      Cheers,
      Laura

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  6. Oh my of biggest dislikes is food waste. I did a story on OzHarvest and Food Bank a while back that was simply astonishing. I had no idea how much food went to waste at a commercial and growing level.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the level of waste that happens before it even gets to the shop is pretty crazy. Especially considering most of it is for cosmetic reasons and some arbitrarily devised regulations around how things should look. It is crazy-making!

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