Buller District Council

Household food waste – the Invisible scandal

25th March, 2015

It looks like perfectly edible food straight from the supermarket. Instead, it’s perfectly edible food straight out of household rubbish bins!

A recent study reveals that every year the average New Zealand family throws away more than $563 worth of edible food. The food wastage was discovered when an audit of council rubbish bins was undertaken nationally to try and find out exactly what foods New Zealanders were throwing away and why.

Buller District Council Community Services Officer Lana Thomas says “This audit has revealed a staggering amount of edible food is thrown away every week. This comes as no surprise. We have known for some time that nationally over 30% of the rubbish placed into kerbside collections is food waste”

Mrs Thomas says “What did come as a surprise was the amount of food that’s being thrown away which is still edible. Whole loaves of bread, unopened yoghurts, uneaten apples are just some of the foods that have been found in audits across the country.”

Buller District Council has been in support of a nationwide project which surveyed 1,365 people and investigated 1,402 rubbish bins, to find out why food is being wasted and what can be done about it. The results found that 27% of households admit to being large food wasters and throw out more than $21 per week of edible food, whilst 38% of households admit to wasting $8 per week.”

Mrs Thomas says “Surprisingly only 10% of households declared they waste nothing at all.” There are some quick and easy things that can be done to reduce food waste and keep hold of those dollars longer.

  • Store your bread in the freezer instead of on the counter to stop it going mouldy or drying out
  • Stew up any excess fruit you have that might be going soft or blend it up into a smoothie
  • Check your fridge before you go shopping to see what needs using up
  • Turn your leftover vegetables into a frittata, or make some fried rice

Food waste image


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