Up to 50% of waste sent to landfill in Australia is food waste. When it decomposes in landfill, food waste emits methane, which is at least 28 times more damaging than carbon dioxide, creating a huge contribution to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. So, there really is no away in 'throw away'.
While some food waste such as bones and shells can’t be avoided, the majority of food waste is avoidable. Minimising your food waste will save your household money and reduce your impact on the environment.
How you can reduce food waste
The best way to reduce food waste is to not create it in the first place. Better planning, smarter shopping and clever food storage are simple actions you can take to reduce avoidable waste.
1. Make a meal plan
Make a weekly meal plan so you only buy what you know you’ll need. If you know you need flexibility in your schedule, like to eat out and/or don’t like planning every meal - factor that in and allocate a dinner from leftovers or something stored in the freezer.
2. Write a shopping list
Check what you have in the fridge or pantry and write a shopping list that reflects your meal plan. And remember a bulk-buy deal or 2-for-1 special is only good value if you use it. It’s not a bargain if it ends up in the bin.
3. Food storage
How we store food can make a BIG difference to its shelf life. Keeping leftovers in airtight reusable containers, storing herbs in a glass of water and reusing glass jars to store nuts, grains, flour and rice can keep your food fresh for longer.
Composting/disposing of food waste
For food scraps that cannot be avoided, compositing is a great way to recycle food waste and keep it out of landfill.
Use a worm farm or compost bin
Turn food scraps into fertiliser by using a compost bin or worm farm. Composting instead of putting this waste in your rubbish bin stops it from going to landfill and creates a useful product instead. Even if you are a renter living in an apartment there are composting options for you.
We have subsidised compost bins and worm farms you can buy to process your food waste. We can provide advice and educational materials to help you set up a worm farm in your apartment building. Print and display the below poster to educate other worm farm users about which foods can be fed to worms.
Find somewhere local that wants your food scraps
We’ve developed an online tool that will help you reduce your food waste in the City of Yarra. Check out the ‘food waste’ category on Yarra’s Zero Waste Map and discover your local food waste or compost drop offs.
The ShareWaste website can also help you find people in your neighbourhood who will accept extra scraps to compost it or feed it to their worms or animals.
Kerbside collection of food scraps for composting
We are currently trialing a weekly kerbside food and green waste collection for some Abbotsford residents. We will review the results of the trial next year and consider expanding this collection service. Read more about the trial.
On-site food processing for commercial properties and apartment buildings
Several companies in Melbourne install recycling units in commercial or multi-unit developments to process food waste into a soil additive, significantly reducing the volume of food waste.
For more information, contact us on 9205 5555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Sustainability Victoria’s Love Food Hate Waste website
• Sustainability Victoria: How to compost your food and garden waste