We’ve all been there. The leftovers from four nights ago are sitting in the fridge and you’re tossing up between chucking them in the microwave or chucking them in the bin and getting UberEats. So you order a pizza and as you settle in to binge watch Netflix, you wonder “it was fine that I just threw that out, right? It’s only one meal”.
It might only be one meal on that one night but when everyone’s doing it, it adds up to a whole lot of food wasted. This is a massive global problem (though Australia is particularly bad per person) and it’s only getting worse. It’s pretty hard to convey the sheer magnitude of this issue without listing off a bunch of statistics so that’s exactly what we’re going to do!
One third of all food produced is lost or wasted - around 1.3 billion tonnes that is worth almost one trillion dollars every year.
Enough food is produced to feed 10 billion people.
One in nine people do not have enough food to eat.
10% of greenhouse gas emissions are the result of food wastage.
If food waste were a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gasses, right behind the US and China.
Our biggest take-away is that though we produce enough food to feed the world, people out there are still starving. But why do we waste food? No-one actually wants to so why does a whopping 20% of our grocery haul end up in the bin?
Turns out, quite a few reasons, some of which are pretty ridiculous.
It starts at the source, where farmers have to send any produce to landfill that isn’t “pretty enough” for consumers. Then, all food at grocery stores or restaurants that’s been out for a certain period of time (due to regulations) must also be sent to landfill. Once we finally get it into our homes, we forget about what we’ve already bought until it’s off, we serve ourselves portions way too big and we throw out anything even a minute past it’s artificially determined used-by date. All of that ends up, you guessed it, in the landfill.
With all these factors causing food waste, what can we do about it? For consumers, it all comes down to one thing - be aware. By being conscious of the food you have, you can plan ahead to make sure nothing gets wasted. Whether it’s through creative cooking, freezing leftovers or giving it to friends, there are countless ways to ensure nothing you buy ends up in the bin.
An important note though - it’s been an entire blog post and we haven’t mentioned compost once? Don’t worry, it’s coming.
If it’s edible, make sure you’re eating it, but banana peels? Eggs shells? We don’t blame you for not wanting to serve up those. As we’ve written about before though, sending them to landfill is super bad. Make sure the only bin they’re going into is the one labelled “compost”!