Love food, hate waste

The Mid-Western Regional Council (MWRC) in New South Wales has conducted a community survey as part of the NSW Government’s Love Food Hate Waste initiative, with some surprising results. 

“Mid-Western Regional Council is a registered partner for the NSW Government’s Love Food Hate Waste program because it’s recognised that food waste is the single largest component of household bins in NSW,” said MWRC General Manager Warwick Bennett.

“We do seem to be a pretty self-sufficient bunch though. More than half the survey respondents grow their own vegies and a third produce their own fruit; 38 percent of the Region’s residents have chooks for their own eggs, and three percent of residents even have cows for their own dairy products.”

About 18 percent of respondents to the survey were so well organised with their food management that they didn’t need to throw any food away; however, a worrying three-quarters of those in the Region throw away fresh food that has spoiled. 

The NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) says planning is the most important step in reducing the amount of food that goes to waste. For example, while nearly 90 percent of Australians write a shopping list, only 34.8 percent stick to that list. Another tip from the EPA involves storing food correctly, which helps it stay fresher for longer and reduces the chance that it will go to waste.

According to the MWRC survey, most of the unused food was being fed to the animals and, while half of the respondents threw unwanted food in the bin, only 45 percent made the effort to compost it.

“Even unavoidable food waste doesn’t have to go to landfill — think of another creative option,” said Mr Bennett.

Love Food Hate Waste data shows that in NSW, $2.5 billion worth of edible food is thrown away per year, including $848 million of fresh food, $371 million of packaged and long-life products and $180 million of takeaway food.