Waste Not, Want Not: Food Wastage in Australia

February 15, 2018
by Jamie Get To Know Us

    Food waste is still a huge problem across Australia, increasing landfill waste and contributing to climate change. Luckily, there are some simple ways to help combat waste that all of us can do to make a bigger difference.

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    food waste in Australia

    According to the Queensland Government, Australians waste 2.5 million tonnes of food each year – that’s 4KG of waste per household! What’s more, the Australian economy loses $36.6 billion per year due to food waste, with households accounting for over 50% of this figure. This makes food waste a massive environmental, social and economic problem which really can’t be underestimated.

    There’s no denying that we are all guilty of the rotten piece of fruit at the bottom of the refrigerator, the leftovers you forgot about, and the yoghurt which you bought but never got around to eating. If it’s happening in your home, your neighbours are most likely to be doing it too. This is a big problem both in Australia and globally.

    food waste in Australia

    Why is food waste a problem?

    Food waste is a problem because everybody is doing it! Every household, cafe, restaurant, supermarket, transporter, grower, manufacturer… Everyone from the paddock to the plate (if it eventually makes it there!)

    Not only does the food that gets disposed of end up in a landfill, where it decomposes and produces huge amounts of methane – a greenhouse gas 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. But, there are also thousands and thousands of litres of water and energy used in producing, processing, storing, refrigerating, transporting and cooking the food.

    A study undertaken by Project Drawdown revealed that reducing food waste could help close the hunger gap by over 60% in 2017. The Australian Government has funded the creation of a roadmap to reduce food waste in half by 2030, bringing together industries, sectors and establishments to help get the job done, hoping to change the behaviour of us cooking the food as well as those producing it.


    Fortunately, there are lots of small but effective things you can do to reduce food waste! The first thing is exactly this; taking time to educate yourself on ways you can do better when it comes to reducing your waste. But, here are a few more ways you can help:

    Shop Smarter

    At HelloFresh, we’re big on meal planning. Much of the food waste at home is a result of simply buying too much or poor planning. Before shopping, think about what you’ll need for the week ahead, factoring in nights you might be out, who else is home and how likely you are to cook. Have a look in the fridge before you head out to see what you already have and what needs to be used up.

    Even better, write a shopping list. This will help you to avoid buying things unnecessarily and being tempted by your rumbling stomach!

    food waste in Australia

    Store Your Food Correctly

    Correctly storing your food has a huge impact on its freshness and shelf-life. Keep a range of airtight containers for storing various foods once they have been opened or cooked. Also take note of the different compartments in your fridge – some are specifically designed for particular foods, i.e. the crisper drawer – designed to keep your fruit and veggies fresher for longer!

    food waste in Australia

    Freeze Food

    Lots of goods are freezable! From soup to fruit to leftover pasta, meals and ingredients can be frozen and used up later. If you cook in bulk, freeze portions individually. If you have fruit that’s about to go off, dice it and freeze it to add to smoothies. 

    Some meats can also be frozen for up to 12 months.

    Leftover herbs? Try freezing them in water or oil and then thawing them out later for use in soups, stews, or pesto!

    food waste in Australia

    Know The Difference Between Use By/Best Before Dates

    There is a difference! Where you see a ‘use-by’ date on a food, it should be eaten by this date to avoid any nasties. On the other hand, foods marked with a ‘best-before’ date are typically still safe to eat after that date – it’s best to have a sniff and make an educated call depending.

    Get Creative With Leftovers

    Get inventive with your leftovers or even put even small amounts in the fridge or freezer for a handy lunch or snack. Try and use up some commonly wasted foods – for example, stale bread can be turned into bread crumbs, croutons, stuffing or even a bread and butter pudding!

    One of our favourite uses for that leftover half an onion is a caramelised relish perfect on burgers, with cheese, or just a really good toasted cheese sandwich.


    Get Greener

    Even if you don’t have a garden, it’s easy to grow a few fresh herbs in a pot on your balcony or window sill so they’re always on hand. Instead of buying costly bunches of herbs at the supermarket, you can snip off just what you need, as you need them. It also means you’re contributing less to the supply chain and manufacturing which further adds to climate change when purchasing new.

    To help work towards reducing food waste, HelloFresh supports Ozharvest food rescue operations. To further this, we got some top tips from sustainability advocate, Brooke Jowett, on how to reduce food waste at home.

    food waste in australia

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    1 comment

    Jean Crothers says:

    Why dont Hello Fresh re cycle or re use boxes etc that come with weekly deliveries. Couldnt we put them out weekly to be collected when our deliveries are dropped off to be picked up. Seems such a waste each week putting boxes etc in our bins.