Did you know the average NSW household throws away $77 worth of edible food every week? That equates to an average household wasting $3,800 worth of food each year. Those figures come from the NSW Government’s new program, Love Food Hate Waste. Designed to show people in the community and industry how to reduce waste, save money and our environment.
While some food waste is unavoidable, there remains food waste we can reduce by making a few simple changes in our own homes, saving money and landfill. The Six Step program outlined in the Love Food Hate Waste program makes the process of reducing waste easy.
Step 1 is Know your waste, by measuring your food scraps in a container over two days and weighing it so you can compare your results. Step 2 is Plan your meals. By planning your meals you can check what ingredients you already have and what you need and what extra portions can be frozen for another time. Shop with a list is Step 3. This means you don’t double up and reduces impulse buys. Step 4 can have a huge impact on your amount of food waste, it is all about getting the Perfect Portion size. Measure your ingredients, follow a recipe so your portions are the right size, it will help reduce the waste on your plates. Step 5 is Keep it fresh. Store your food correctly to preserve its nutrients and shelf life. That means having your fridge and freezer at the correct temperature, storing food in airtight containers, labelling leftovers before freezing, refrigerating items such as sauce and jam once open. Finally, Step 6 is Love your leftovers. Get creative with your leftovers and you can make an entirely new meal.
The Love Food Hate Waste Program has also been piloted across different industries to quantify their food waste and in consultation with the Program’s waste experts, develop strategies to reduce unnecessary food waste. As an aged care provider, Anglican Care was chosen to participate. Measuring food waste was key to understanding the exact measures of food waste at the preparation stage of resident meals, as well as what food was left on their plates.
Our staff embraced the challenge of minimising food waste and in collaboration with the program’s consultants, strategies to reduce waste emerged and were implemented. The results have been outstanding. Not only have we reduced an average of 6000kgs of food waste per annum on average per residential aged care home, the remaining food waste is no longer landfill. Instead it is collected and delivered to local farms in the Hunter Valley catchment area and is being delivered back to local farms/industries as mulch and compost. That’s great for farmers and our environment.