Food Waste Facts
Food Waste Facts*
To put it simply, there is enough food on the planet to feed everyone. Fighting food waste plays a significant role in fighting hunger. Everyone has a part to play, from production right through to how we as consumers choose to shop, love ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables, and understand food labels. In the wise words of Sir David Attenborough:
"THE ONE THING WE CAN ALL DO IS TO STOP WASTE. DON’T WASTE FOOD. DON’T WASTE POWER. THEY ARE PRECIOUS, AND WE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THEM."
Food is wasted in many ways
- Food waste includes all food intended for human consumption that never reaches us and edible food that consumers throw away.
- Perfectly edible fresh produce is often turned away from supermarket shelves because it does not meet the optimal criteria for consumers, such as shape, size and colour.
- Foods that are close to, at or beyond the “best-before” date are often discarded by retailers and consumers – even though they are still within their “use-by” date.
- Large quantities of wholesome edible food are often unused or leftover and discarded from household kitchens and eating establishments.
Food Waste in Australia
According to National Food Waste Strategy Feasibility Study:
- Food waste costs the economy around $36.6 billion or $2,000 to $2,500 per household per year.
- Australian households account for the majority of food waste (2.46 million tonnes)
- 70% of the 7.6 million tonnes of food wasted in Australia every year is edible.
- Australian households throw away around one in five bags of groceries, equal to around 312kg per person.
- 17.5 million tonnes of CO2-e is generated annually from the production and disposal of food wasted in Australia (excluding the emissions associated with exported food), equivalent to the annual emissions from Australia’s highest emitting coal-fired power station.
- Food waste accounts for approximately 3% of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.
- The amount of water used to grow food that is wasted equals the volume of water in five Sydney Harbours (2600 gigalitres).
- If we combine the landmass used to grow wasted food in Australia, it is larger than Victoria, which is over 25 million hectares.
- 25% of the water used in agriculture is used to grow food that is wasted.