05 July 2010

Love Food, Hate Waste Launches in Australia

Reposted in full from Warmer Bulletin e-news, 2 July 2010

'The Government of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has teamed up with retailer Woolworths, households, businesses and local councils to slash food waste - under a programme called Love Food Hate Waste, based on the original UK concept.

Council waste audits show that each year, NSW households generate 800,000 tonnes of food waste and businesses generate 300,000 tonnes. This means A$2.5 billion worth of food a year is thrown away or about A$1,000 a household.

Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Frank Sartor, has launched Love Food Hate Waste - an internationally successful campaign to help thousands of households and businesses reduce growing amounts of food waste.

"Food waste makes up a massive 40 per cent of the total rubbish in our household bins; that is 315 kilograms a home," Mr Sartor said.

"It is a tragedy that we are wasting so much food - when others around the world are starving or struggling to buy the food needed to survive. There are also major consequences for the environment when we throw away food - it goes directly into landfill where it turns into methane - a gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. There are simple things we can all do to waste less food, including buying only what we need, preparing and cooking correct amounts, and storing food items properly".

Love Food Hate Waste is a partnership programme based on a successful campaign in the United Kingdom which supports households to adopt simple and easy behaviours that work to reduce food waste.

The three year campaign includes an awareness program and a partnership with business to help change behaviours. Woolworths is involved because it has more than 20 million consumers pass through its stores each week in Australia.

The NSW Government is also partnering with the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the Local Government and Shires Association.

Under the programme business and households can access:

  • a portion calculator to help them to decide on the best amounts of food to buy for their families to minimise waste
  • tips on what to buy and when
  • how best to store food
  • tools and resources to help raise awareness and adopt new behaviours to better manage food
  • nutritional recipes
  • a dedicated website www.lovefoodhatewaste.nsw.gov.au
Mr Sartor said the programme will help NSW meet its municipal waste reduction target of 66 per cent and commercial and industrial waste reduction target of 63 per cent by 2014. This target is equivalent to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in NSW by about 640,000 tonnes of CO2 per year - that's the same as permanently removing 159,000 cars off the road.

For every tonne of food waste prevented from going to landfill, 0.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide can be saved.

To better understand community knowledge, attitudes and behaviours about household food waste 1,200 NSW households were surveyed as part of the Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study 2009.

The survey was delivered online in December 2009 and was completed by NSW residents, aged 16 and older, who were mainly or equally responsible for buying and managing food in their household.

The Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study 2009 represents the most comprehensive and up to date analysis of community knowledge, attitudes and behaviours conducted about food waste in NSW.

Who wastes the most food?

While we all waste some food, the top three food wasting groups in NSW are young consumers (aged 18-24), higher income households (incomes more than $100,000 per year) and families with children. On average these groups waste $24.90-$26 worth of food per week.

Young consumers are:

  • more likely to feel that a busy lifestyle makes it hard to avoid wasting food
  • more likely to throw away food that has passed its 'best before' date (regardless of quality)
  • less likely to consider whether food will be eaten (at time of purchase)
  • less likely to shop to a set budget

Households with incomes more than A$100,000 per year are:

  • more likely to make extra just in case
  • more likely to use leftover food for other meals
  • less likely to have members of the household eat the same meal
  • less likely to consider portion sizes when cooking
Families with children are:

  • more likely to do one large shop
  • more likely to buy items on special and in bulk
  • less likely to check 'best before' and 'use by' dates when shopping
  • less likely to make meals from assorted ingredients that need using up

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