Cut food waste to fight climate change


The responsibility for eating leftovers and storing food properly will fall on every Australian if the nation is to meet its target of halving food waste by 2030.

Fight Food Waste CEO Steven Lapidge said changing consumer behavior is crucial, with everyone needing to avoid 150 kilograms of waste a year.

Strategies such as buying the right amount of food as well as preparing meals are key to reducing food waste.

Australians waste around 7.5 million tonnes of food each year, costing each household more than $2,500.

This alone contributes to more than three percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, generating 17.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions.

If Australians cut food waste by 30%, they would save over $33 billion and reduce carbon emissions.

Government, business leaders and academics will meet at the National Food Waste Summit in Brisbane on Wednesday to monitor Australia’s progress.

Business leaders should ask for tax breaks to allow businesses to donate food instead of throwing it away.

“Australia has many tax deductions for charitable donations, but no tax incentives to specifically target reducing food waste or addressing food insecurity,” Dr Lapidge said.

“It’s much easier and cheaper for companies to just throw food away.”

Australia’s food waste epidemic has worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic, with up to 25% of fruit and vegetables never leaving the farm due to supermarket quality control requirements.

Nearly a third of all food grown in the world is not eaten and ends up in landfill.

A United Nations report found that if food waste was a country, it would be close behind the United States and China as the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

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