Take steps to reduce food waste: Encycle

Encycle’s Jenny Campbell.
Encycle’s Jenny Campbell.

FEW think about it when eating, cooking or selling food, but waste is becoming a more prevalent issue in the modern age, according to a waste and recycling expert.

Jenny Campbell, the director of Encycle Consultancy, said waste happened every step of the supply chain, from supermarkets and restaurants to households.

She said on average, food waste made up half of what was put into a household bin, but that it did not behave the way people might think once it hit landfill.

“Food in landfill does not generally degrade back into the soil like it might if we compost it or the way that plant matter breaks down naturally,” she said.

“In landfills, there is no air so the chemical breakdown reactions produce methane gas, which is 25 times worse at warming our planet than carbon dioxide.”

Ms Campbell said at least a third of what is grown was thrown away. “Fruit and vegetables produced for our supermarkets must meet stringent standards of shape, size, colour and regularity,” she said.

“Supermarkets, retailers and restaurants try to be careful not to waste food once it enters their store as this impacts on their costs directly; however the need to have a range of food available at all times for consumers means a huge amount is still wasted.”

With the average household throwing away $1000 worth of food every year, Ms Campbell said there were easy ways available to reduce food waste, including giving excess food to the needy or properly composting fruit and vegetables that had turned bad.

How can you reduce your food waste?

-Do not be tempted to buy more than you need

-Imagine how much money you are throwing away when you throw food out

-Educate yourself on what best before/use by dates really mean

-Use smell, texture taste and appearance to see if food is off instead of relying on what the package says

-Use the internet to look up recipes for leftovers

-Use your freezer more when food is approaching it’s used by date to keep it longer

Visit www.encycle.com.au for more information.