Thanks to the charming David Lebovitz in Paris for allowing me to use his photo of rotting fruit.
How often do you throw out rotting fruit like this?
Australians throw away food because we forget about it,” says Jon Dee,
environmentalist and founder of Planet Ark, who has joined forces with
Notebook: magazine to put an end to food waste in Australia. “We leave
it lingering in the depths of our fridges and cupboards, unused and
unloved. When we do use it, we use too much and even then we don’t use
“It’s an approach to food that anathema to older generations. Their
cooking of leftovers was the earliest form of recycling. They used up
every scrap of food, because they valued it. Today that attitude has
changed but it’s vital that we change it back.” “When food waste rots
in landfill it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent
than the CO2 pouring out of your car’s exhaust,” explains Jon. “If we
don’t mend our wasteful ways, we’ll be eating ourselves out of an
environment that can sustainably support future generations of
We all do it. How often do you forget what's in our pantry or fridge and then throw it out because it's gone rotten.
It came at an opportune time when the people at Notebook asked if I'd support their campaign on Food Waste in Australia. Even if they hadn't sent me a free copy of their magazine (thank you) I'd support it.
Food waste is something I've been conscious of since we moved to Australia. I can't tell you how much food I've wasted in the past 6 months since we have been here. There is much we take for granted when we live in the same house for years. Where to shop for the best produce, how long the fruit will last on the bench, where in the pantry is the best place to store your onions and potatoes. Even how long the wine will remain drinkable in the cupboard you call the cellar.
Suddenly I live in a climate averaging 10 degrees warmer and I've learnt the hard way the bowl of red peppers can't sit on the bench looking pretty any more.
Added to that is the fact we don't know that many people here yet and keeping the fridge stocked with nibbly things in case friends drop in for a drink has seen me throw out packets of smoked salmon and jars of sour cream.
In Auckland we lived within walking of the best produce shop in Auckland. It not only sold fabulous produce, it sold all the best Asian, Italian,Spanish and French delicacies. Although we love living in this part of the Gold Coast, and it has great bars and restaurants, it lacks shopping facilities. Which means driving to the shops and rather than shop every day, I now shop twice a week. I'm not so good at planning meals in advance. I hate to shop today for what I'm going to eat in two days time.
From the September issue of Notebook magazine - Australians are wasting $6 billion of food each year - enough to feed the entire nation for three weeks. - Current research suggests the majority of food thrown away is fresh fruit and vegetables. - Meat, fish, bread, dairy produce, rice and pasta are all in the ‘top’ most wasted foods. - The two main reasons for food wastage is that people ‘cook or prepare too much’ or ‘don’t use food before its use-by date’. - A 2005 study by The Australia Institute estimated that food waste was costing Australians $5.3 billion per year. - The Australian 2006 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory report stated methane emissions from solid waste disposal on land were equivalent to 13.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. - According to CSIRO data, dumping a kilogram of beef wastes the 50,000 litres of water it took to produce that meat; throwing out a kilogram of white rice will waste 2,385 litres and wasting a kilogram of potatoes costs 500 litres.
That is just in Australia, a country of 21 million people. Can you imagine the amount of food wasted in the entire world.
Do you have any tips for stopping food waste? Feel free to share them in the comments. I could use the help.
Australian readers can share their tips on stopping food waste at Notebook and win.