* This post is part of an ongoing series, "Food Waste Around the Globe." To see all related posts, click here.
Multiple actors within Australia are trying to reduce the nation’s annual food waste. According to the Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study 2009 conducted by the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each household spends approximately $1,036 on wasted food, which amounts to $2.5 billion dollars within the NSW and $5 billion across Australia. This estimate means that the citizens of Australia end up throwing out more than 3 million tonnes of food each year! OzHarvest, a food charity headquartered in Sydney, measured that 3.28 million tonnes of food goes into Australian landfills each year and makes up 10% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. (When organic matter in a landfill starts to decompose, it releases methane gas, which is up to 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.)
Various organizations are trying to spread food saving and waste reduction tips to consumers, diners, chefs, restaurants and individuals. The Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study, claims that the NSW area throws away $694 million dollars in leftovers, most of which is driven by incorrect portioning and cooking more than you plan to eat. To combat this, the NSW EPA provides a serving size calculator on its website to assist people with preparing an appropriate, healthy amount of food to reduce initial food waste.
On another food waste prevention website called Food Wise, there's a “Recipe Room” section where talented and well-known chefs provide recipe suggestions for creative ways to re-use your leftovers. Martyna Candrick, an e-cookbook author and food blogger from Sydney, provides a simple and easy leftover roast meat taco recipe. Rebecca Sullivan, an urban farmer, chef, and sustainable food advocate, provides a helpful tip on refreshing wilted lettuce and other greens found in the fridge. She suggests submerging the greens in ice-water for 10 minutes before cooking a meal with them. You can find more helpful leftover cooking tips at the Food Wise website.
Cooking consciously is a simple and cost-saving strategy in reducing food waste. Use these helpful tools launched by the south Pacific to start saving leftovers from going straight to the trash and preparing healthy sized portions!