Reduce food waste and save money

In Australia, over one-third of the average rubbish bin will be filled with food waste – the equivalent one in five shopping bags worth of food simply thrown away. 

Nearly half of all fruit and vegetables produced each year in Australia go to waste, with 5 million tonnes of food ending up in landfill each year. Food waste costs the Australian economy $20 billion each year, according to OzHarvest. Two-thirds of food waste will occur in the home or in customer-facing businesses such as restaurants.


Globally, one-third of all food produced for human consumption goes to waste – accounting for around eight per cent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Throwing away just one burger wastes the same amount of water as a 90-minute shower.

Luckily, it is an issue we can all help to minimise food waste, and reduce freshwater wastage, land clearing and wasteful pesticide use, with small, simple steps that will collectively have a huge impact.

Plan your meals
Planning your meals a head of time means that you are less likely to buy unnecessary food that will ultimately go to waste. Know what you want to make, and how much of it.

Check the fridge and cupboard before shopping
It’s easy to lose track of what we already have and doubling up on food purchases can easily result in throwing away food. This can also help you to save on your weekly shop.

Make a shopping list
It’s easy to become side-tracked by sale signs and gnawing cravings when we shop. Going into the grocer or supermarket with a definitive list will help you keep food waste out of your bin and your money in your wallet.

Eat out, takeaway
When you go out to a restaurant for a meal, bring a Tupperware container with you. That way, you can take home leftovers in a sustainable way, saving money, food and plastic waste.

Stock savers
Vegetable scraps such as peels, heads and leftovers can be easily turned into a homemade stock. Bones and meat scraps, such as the carcass of a roast chicken, can also be used to make a delicious, healthy and sustainable stock.

Don’t chuck leftovers
If you’ve made too much food for one meal, save it for another. There are many ways to be creative with leftover food, saving you money and effort on your next meal. Check out these clever tricks for using leftovers.

Know the terminology
‘Best before’ indicates when the food is at its best, but it’s still edible after this date if stored appropriately. ‘Use by’ means that after this date the food should not be consumed. ‘Display until’ is relevant only to retailers and doesn’t actually indicate to the consumers when the food is at its best.

Freezing foods
Foods are often sold in large quantities, too great for one or two people to consume before they go off. If a food is nearing its use-by date, put it in the freezer. You can freeze a sliced loaf of bread and toast the slices as you want to eat them.

Compost where you can
Composting is the perfect way to combine reducing waste and growing a happy and healthy garden.

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Related articles:
Lovely Leftovers
Is your food still safe to eat?
The worst foods to freeze

Liv Gardiner
Liv Gardiner
Writer and editor with interests in travel, lifestyle, health, wellbeing, astrology and the enivornment.
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