Australian households throw away 20% of their food purchases (with around $8 or $10 billion value) yearly. Australia produces enough food to feed approx. 60 million people, yet two million people still rely on food relief every year. Food relief agencies are not able to meet demand. Nearly 90% of agencies reported not having enough food to meet total demand. 6 in 10 agencies require at least 25% more food with almost 3 in 10 agencies requiring double the food.
Why is this food wasted?
Food is wasted because we
- Cook to much food
- Don’t know how to use leftovers
- Throw out food before the use by date
- Don’t store it correctly, leading to mould or the product going off quicker
- Don’t know the difference between “Use by” and “Best before”
- Purchasing takeaway instead of cooking at home
- Don’t check what food we have at home before shopping
- Don’t stick to a shopping list and purchase extra food items we don’t need
- Do not like how it looks. About 20-40% of fresh food is rejected before it even gets to the supermarket because it does not meet the high cosmetic standards of consumers (abnormally sized and funnily coloured or shaped fruit and vegetables)
What are the effects?
- When food rots it releases methane, which is about 25 times worse for the air and environment than car fumes.
- Throwing out food is also wasting the water, energy, fuel, time and money it took to grow and produce it. (The average Australian household throws out around $1000 worth of groceries a year, which is enough to feed a house hold of 4 for a month)
- If food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost. For example, it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk and about 16,000 litres go into a cow’s food to make a hamburger. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions (Methane) from the cows, and the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food.
Out of the $8 to $10 Billion we waste, how much of what do we waste?
- Fresh Food makes up about a third (33% or $2.67Billion)
- Leftovers make up about 27% of the total waste, about $2.18 Billion
- Packaged and Long-Life Products equate to roughly 15% or $1.17 Billion
- Drinks and Liquids are 9% of the total waste ($727Million)
- Frozen food is also 9%
- Takeaways make up at least $566 Million or 7%
Who are the biggest food wasters?
- Young people in the age group of 18 to 24
- Families with children or fussy eaters (Not people with dietary needs)
- Households with yearly incomes over $100,000
Waste and in the cotton industry:
The cotton industry in Australia is very sustainable. Waste from cotton crops are turned into fertiliser and then used back on the cotton crops. The watering system used on Australian cotton crops is one of the most efficient in the world.
Water is contaminated by the runoff of pesticide and fertilisers from cotton fields. This permanently pollutes the water sources, making them unusable for others. Water pollution from cotton is more prominent in other countries.
Facts based on food wastage in Australia:
1. Australia waste 1/5 of the food they purchase (20%)
2. In terms of global context, Australia wastes 1/3 of food products
3. It takes 545 litres (144 gallons) to raise 1 pound (0.4535Kg) of beef. The average cow will produce roughly 490 pounds of boneless trimmed beef (222.26Kg)
4. Did you know it takes 1000 litres of water to produce one litre of milk?
5. For the average household in Australia, $1036 of food is wasted annually
6. In terms of finical outcome, Australians waste $8 billion worth of edible food annually
7. Around 16,000 litres of water is used to go into a cow’s food to make a hamburger
8. Australia produces food for approximately 60 million people, though a total of two million people still rely on food relief annually
9. Australians waste a total of 4 million tonnes of food annually
10. In reference of Australian households, Australians waste 345Kg of food per household
• Consumers waste 20% of the food produce they buy, which equals to more than 4 million tonnes end up in landfill each year which costs the Australian economy $20 billion annually
• An average Australian household, a total of $1036 of food purchased is wasted annually
• A national problem in Australia is that Australia produces food for around 60 million people, yet 2 million people still rely on food relief annually, while also much of the global population is also in need of food.
• Undesired food which results in rotting in landfills is a major agent of producing methane, an especially harmful greenhouse gas.
• In terms of global context, Australia wastes 1/3 of food produce
• Reducing food waste: this concept includes developing better food harvest, storage, processing, transport and retailing processes. The development and function of new technology is gradually assisting the reduction of food waste.
• Reducing cost: In order to reduce the cost of an Australian average household. The requirements of the following must be intended: write a shopping list based on a weekly plan meal, storage of food being corrected, reuse leftovers etc.
• Refigure the food chain: In Australia, there are numerous of initiatives based on seeking secondary markets for undesired food. A main principle of this outcome includes the donation of food to vulnerable members of society. An organization which follows this pathway is ‘OzHarvest’. OzHarvest are recognised as a food rescue organisation, obtaining quality excess food from commercial markets and delivering it to around 500 charities active across Australia. The major alternative for undesired human consumption of food produce is to extract it for livestock feed or conversing resources that would be used to produce commercial feedstuff.
• Recycle and recover: the subjects of by-product recycling, anaerobic digestion, compositing and incineration with energy recovery allows the nutrients and energy to be regained from food waste which presents a significant alternative in terms of extracting food waste into landfills. This outcome will obviously reduce the activity of methane being produced. Although, technology is still being developed within this time period to convert food wastage in Australia into green energy.
• Consumer campaigns: Consumer campaigns being distributed within the Australian community will present how much people actually waste food, whilst also providing alternatives/solutions based on the arising problem. In terms of commercial marketing, advertisement, sponsors by local government, community groups etc. All these factors contribute in terms of providing consumers with informative alternatives to assist based on the reduction of food waste in Australia.
Cotton farming waste facts:
• It requires 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton = a single T-shirt and pair of jeans (does not include growing the crop).
• The biggest cotton waste is the trend quality of T-shirts etc.
• What do we do with low quality cotton?
• Production system: fertilise waste
• Talk about positives and negatives of the cotton industry
• Technology: viewing the amount of water required within each sector of crop (determine the irrigation method)
• ET Measurement (affected by temperature, wind speed and humidity)
Year 9/10 sustainability elective class members. Please note the class size is 10 students!!!