Australia’s federal food waste targets

Food waste targets must be set by the government. Why? Because otherwise we will not reduce our food waste fast enough for the needs of the planet. Individual people and businesses are working to reduce their own food waste, but it is not seen as a problem as big as that of plastic or carbon emissions.

Well, it is as big a problem as plastic, and nearly as big a problem as carbon emissions. And intricately linked with emissions, too.

The problem

Australia has a large food waste problem – and it’s time to do something about it.

Australians waste more than 7.3 million tonnes of food each year, costing us more than $20 billion. Households are responsible for about a third of that.

When food waste ends up in landfill, its degradation process releases methane – a greenhouse gas 72 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Not to mention the emissions from the cleared land used to produce this food, the water, the labour effort, and the transport emissions which are all wasted when good food goes in the bin.

However, food waste includes more than just good, unwanted food – it includes scraps like carrot peelings and egg shells.

The solution

Australia’s government has set an ambitious goal of halving our food waste by 2030.

The Federal Government is providing $4 million to start an organisation which will tackle Australia’s food waste. Sussan Ley (Federal Environment Minister) wants this organisation to decide on practical solutions to reduce food waste, in line with the government’s goal to halve food waste by 2030. This is an ambitious – but good – goal.

“By reducing food waste, we can put money back into household budgets, improve business bottom lines, and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.,” Minister Ley said. Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction Trevor Evans said the voluntary industry commitment program would focus on prevention, reuse, and food chain innovation, with monitoring of reporting and performance.

Our thoughts

The government should focus on food scraps and compostable packaging as well as edible food waste.

This is a wonderful goal, but we think the government should focus on all organics, not just food waste. This would help in expanding composting schemes throughout Australia, making disposal of food scraps easier and encouraging the use of compostable foodservice packaging in businesses, and – dare I say it – in food processors.

The problem of food waste is not just limited to edible waste. By composting plant-based disposable packaging and food scraps, businesses have reduced their waste collection costs, meaning there are even more economic opportunities than the government is seeing.

To see what compostable alternatives we offer, head to our store.

 

Information taken from Shepparton News.

Read about how to make swaps on Sustainability Day, and the obstacles food processors face in ditching plastic, on our blog.

Article by Tallis Baker

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