Each year in Australia more than 5.3 million tonnes of edible food is wasted from households and the commercial sector. At the same time, millions of Australians experience food insecurity, many of those receiving much-needed food relief each month, according to the FoodBank Hunger Report. With a national target of halving food waste by 2030, the Federal Government is calling on all Australians to do their bit to cut food waste in the home. To help you get started, try these simple changes to habits from food rescue organisation, OzHarvest.
A change for good
Ronni Kahn is the proud founder of OzHarvest — one of Australia's largest food rescue charities that collects excess food from commercial outlets and delivers it to more than 1,000 charities around the country.
"We're asking everyone to join the movement. It's very simple, we need to look, buy, store and cook," Ms Kahn said.
It breaks down like this:
- LOOK at what's in your fridge and pantry before going shopping for more.
- BUY only what you need. So make a shopping list.
- STORE that food properly, so it doesn't go off too soon.
- COOK it and also the leftovers.
1. Plan meals and shop accordingly
To avoid over-buying, check the pantry and fridge before you shop. Plan your meals for the week and write a shopping list of the things you need. That way you won’t be tempted into buying unnecessary items that could go to waste.
2. Only cook what you need
Instead of preparing huge meals that often end up in the fridge for several days before they get thrown out, measure out the portions you need to feed your household, and only cook what you know you’re going to eat.
3. Use up leftovers
One of the biggest contributors to food waste is leftovers, whether that’s prepared meals or leftover vegetables that don’t get used in time. Instead of heading to the supermarket to stock up again, think about what meal you could make out of the leftover ingredients in your home. Get creative!
4. Store food correctly
It is possible to extend the lifespan of food simply by storing it correctly. Things like using airtight containers to help stop moisture and insect infestation, freezing bread to keep it fresh for longer, and rotating the fruit and vegetables in the fridge so the older ingredients get used up first.
5. Focus on fresh
Up to 40% of all fruit and vegetables produced never even make it to supermarket shelves. That’s because they’re seen as blemished or not confirming to our views of how they should look. By shopping at a local farmers’ market – where the focus is on freshness rather than appearance – you help turn “ugly” fruit and vegetables, into good, wholesome meals.
Start saving today
Food waste costs the average Australian household around $3,000 a year. By making a few small changes to our consumer behaviour, it is possible to cut food waste and save money. Find out more about how you can help cut food waste in your home and help others by visiting OzHarvest or Stop Food Waste Australia.
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