Melbourne wastes 200 kg of food per person a year: it’s time to get serious

You know that feeling when you open the fridge and are met with something “on the nose”. We all know what food waste looks and smells like.

But food waste stinks in more ways than one. It is expensive, costing the average household over A$2,200 a year, and it undermines the resilience and sustainability of our food supply.

A new report from our Foodprint Melbourne Project has estimated the amount of food that is wasted in feeding Melbourne. We found that feeding Melbourne generates more than 900,000 tonnes of edible food waste every year, or over 200 kg per person.

This is enough to feed more than 2 million people for a year*.

Food waste occurs at different stages for each food type.
Foodprint Melbourne

Undermining sustainability

Growing this wasted food uses 180 gigalitres of water each year, or 113 litres per person per day. This is equivalent to running your shower for an extra 10 minutes a day.

This wasted food also uses around 3.6 million hectares of land – around 41 ha per person, or more than 20 times the area of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

And this wasted food is responsible for around 2.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, 60% of which is generated by food waste rotting in landfill, and the rest in producing the wasted food.

This uneaten food is not only a source of unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. It represents a waste of natural resources that are in increasingly limited supply.

Australia is a water-scarce region that is likely to become drier due to climate change, while only 6% of Australia’s land is suitable for growing crops.

With the associated waste of natural resources, high levels of food waste add to the challenge of producing sufficient food to feed a growing population.

Reducing food waste

There are many ways to reduce food waste at home. These include making meal plans, sharing leftover food with friends or neighbours, checking the fridge before going shopping and storing food correctly.

The Cloud-Freezer app can help you to keep track of what’s in your freezer and fridge. Worm farms, bokashi bins and other forms of composting are also great ways to divert food waste from landfill.

While we can all take steps to reduce food waste at home, we need to look at the bigger picture. Our research shows that more than 60% of food waste is generated before food reaches your fridge or freezer.

Strict standards defining the shape, size and colour of fresh fruit and vegetables in supermarkets can mean that a significant proportion of a crop never leaves the farm.

Low prices for second-grade produce can make it financially unviable for farmers to pick, pack and ship imperfect produce. Pressure to keep supermarket shelves full for appearance’s sake, losses during food processing and storage problems also lead to food being wasted.

Initiatives that aim to make more imperfect fruit and vegetables available, such as Woolworth’s Odd Bunch campaign, go some way to reducing this problem, but more needs to be done.

Our research estimates that if food waste was halved across the food supply chain, Melbourne could save 1.8 million hectares of land, 90 million litres of water and avoid 1.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.

We need to halve food waste

In recognition of the significant challenge that food waste represents to sustainable food systems, the new Sustainable Development Goals set a target to halve the global food waste per person that is generated by retailers and consumers by 2030.

The United States government has also set a national target to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. It has established a cross-sector partnership of stakeholders across the food system to tackle the problem.

The UK government has been an early mover in taking action to tackle food waste. In 2007, it launched the WRAP Love Food Hate Waste program aimed at reducing food waste. An evaluation in 2012 showed that avoidable waste of food and drink (that could have been eaten) had fallen by 21% in five years following the launch of the program.

Most of this reduction has been in household food waste. The WRAP program is now working with the food industry to reduce waste in other sectors. The successful UK Love Food Hate Waste program aimed at reducing household food waste has been taken up by state governments in Victoria and New South Wales.

Australia is developing a national food waste strategy – the Food Waste 2025 Strategy – and stakeholders from across the food supply chain meet this month to discuss how to reduce food waste.

Australia should follow suit in setting a target to halve food waste across the food supply chain to put Australia’s food system on a more sustainable footing.

*Correction: This figure has been updated. It previously incorrectly stated that Melbourne’s food waste is enough to feed 2,000 people per year.

The Conversation

Seona Candy, Research Fellow: Sustainable Food Systems, University of Melbourne; Jennifer Sheridan, Researcher in sustainable food systems, University of Melbourne, and Rachel Carey, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

79 thoughts on “Melbourne wastes 200 kg of food per person a year: it’s time to get serious

  1. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all folks you actually understand what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also consult with my site =). We can have a hyperlink change contract between us!

  2. Hi! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey there. I discovered your blog via Google whilst looking for a related matter, your web site got here up. It seems great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  4. I wish to express thanks to this writer for bailing me out of this crisis. After checking throughout the the net and coming across solutions which were not helpful, I thought my life was over. Being alive without the approaches to the problems you have fixed as a result of your good website is a serious case, as well as the ones which might have negatively affected my entire career if I hadn’t noticed your site. Your mastery and kindness in dealing with every aspect was invaluable. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not come across such a point like this. I’m able to now relish my future. Thanks so much for your expert and effective help. I will not be reluctant to recommend your site to anyone who needs to have recommendations about this subject matter.

  5. Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your website is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and simply couldn’t come across. What an ideal site.

  6. I would like to point out my affection for your kind-heartedness in support of persons who actually need help with the topic. Your special commitment to getting the message across has been pretty important and has specifically encouraged others just like me to attain their dreams. Your entire warm and helpful recommendations implies a whole lot a person like me and even further to my fellow workers. With thanks; from each one of us.

  7. I just want to mention I am all new to weblog and truly loved you’re website. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your blog . You really have incredible posts. Thank you for sharing your website.

  8. A través de una herramienta ubicada en un cabezal que se mueve verticalmente sobre un eje llamado z, se realiza el proceso de mecanizados. Para ofrecer productos de calidad y de alto valor añadido, con la última tecnología en maquinaria. Esto está en contraste con las máquinas que se controlan manualmente con ruedas manuales palancas, mecánicamente automatizadas solo con levas.

  9. Damos asistencia técnica profesional en la reparación de todo tipo de electrodomésticos de la marca Bosch. Con nuestro Servicio de Urgencias podemos estar presentes en su localidad en un tiempo mínimo, para darle al cliente una solución rápida y eficaz. Guárdanos como contacto y la próxima vez que necesites de nuestro servicio técnico no tendrás que perder tiempo buscándonos. Los logos y marcas expuestos en este sitio Web son propiedad de sus titulares y estan protegidos por las leyes del copyright. No somos Servicio Técnico Oficial, pero nuestros técnicos están especializados en la reparación de todas las marcas. Nuestro servicio técnico Liebherr estará encantado de ayudarle en lo que necesite.

  10. La aplicación del mismo permite reducir los tiempos de fabricación, disminuir los costes de fabricación, facilitar una mayor precisión a la hora del mecanizado, un alto grado de uniformidad y la intercambiabilidad de piezas. Implantar una página web 2.0 a través de la cual los clientes puedan enviar los patrones de las piezas a fabricar, realizar pedidos, consultar el estado de los mismos y gestionar toda la documentación que se genere en el proceso.

  11. Pingback: viagra for sale
  12. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this web site before but after browsing through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly delighted I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

  13. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you should publish more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people don’t discuss such topics. To the next! All the best!!

  14. Leading Online Pharmacy – Contact us at +1 (917) 259-3352 for unbelievable rates, discount and offers on any medicine. Get it delivered free of cost at your door steps, call us today. Phone : +1 (917) 259-3352

  15. I just want to say I am just newbie to blogging and site-building and really loved you’re web page. More than likely I’m planning to bookmark your site . You definitely have beneficial posts. Regards for sharing with us your website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *