War on Food Waste


Food waste is a significant problem worldwide that has major effects on the environment and economy. In Australia, this issue is especially important, with large amounts of food being thrown away unnecessarily.


The importance of this issue in Australia can be seen through different factors:

  • Economic Impact: The financial losses caused by food waste are significant, affecting businesses, consumers, and the overall economy.
  • Environmental Consequences: Food waste leads to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental damage, threatening the country’s sustainability goals.


As we explore the fight against food waste in Australia, it becomes clear that everyone needs to work together to solve this complex problem. By learning about the current situation of food waste in Australia and looking at efforts from the government, industry, and community, we can all make a difference in reducing food waste and its impacts.


This article will give you useful information about the state of food waste in Australia and practical tips on how you can help tackle this important issue.

The Current State of Food Waste in Australia

Food waste is a significant problem in Australia, and it has negative effects on the environment and economy. Currently, Australia produces around 7.3 million tonnes of food waste every year. What’s surprising is that 34% of this waste comes from households, which means that we need to focus on changing our habits at home to make a real difference.

Factors Contributing to Food Waste in Australia

There are several reasons why food waste is such a big issue in Australia:

  1. Consumer Behavior: Many people buy more food than they need and end up throwing away the excess because they haven’t planned their meals properly or don’t know how to store food correctly.
  2. Supply Chain Problems: There are challenges in getting food from producers to consumers without it spoiling along the way. This includes issues with transportation, storage facilities, and distribution networks.
  3. Supermarket Practices: Supermarkets also play a role in food waste. They often have promotions that encourage us to buy more than we actually need, and they have strict standards for how produce should look, which means that perfectly good fruits and vegetables may get thrown away just because they don’t meet these cosmetic requirements.
  4. Management of Surplus Food: Finally, there’s the issue of managing surplus food. This can happen at any stage of the supply chain, from farmers having more produce than they can sell to restaurants preparing too much food and then throwing away what’s left.

These are just some of the factors contributing to food waste in Australia, but they give you an idea of how complex this problem is.

The impact of food waste on the Australian environment and economy cannot be overstated. Addressing these issues is vital for sustainable development and the well-being of the nation.

Understanding the Environmental and Economic Impacts

Food waste has significant environmental and economic impacts, making it crucial to address this issue for sustainable development goals.

Negative Consequences on the Environment

The environmental consequences of food waste are substantial. When food ends up in landfills, it decomposes and produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Methane is 25 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period[1]. In fact, food waste is responsible for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions[2].

Furthermore, food waste consumes valuable resources such as water, land, and energy during its production. Approximately one-quarter of the world’s freshwater resources are used to produce food that is ultimately wasted[3]. This wasteful use of resources exacerbates water scarcity issues in many regions.

Economic Implications in Australia

Food waste also has significant economic implications in Australia. The financial losses associated with food waste are staggering. It is estimated that food waste costs the Australian economy $20 billion annually[4]. This includes not only the cost of the wasted food itself but also the expenses associated with its production, transportation, and disposal.

However, addressing food waste presents an opportunity for economic benefits as well. By reducing food waste, businesses can save money on purchasing and disposal costs. Additionally, redirecting edible surplus food to those in need can provide economic benefits by alleviating hunger and improving food security.

Efforts to combat food waste can also stimulate innovation and create new business opportunities. For example, initiatives focusing on converting food waste into valuable products such as compost or bioenergy can contribute to a circular economy and create jobs.

In conclusion, understanding the environmental and economic impacts of food waste highlights the urgency of taking action. Addressing this issue is essential for achieving sustainability goals and creating a more efficient and resilient food system.

“Reducing food waste not only benefits the environment but also has significant economic implications. By minimising food waste, we can save resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create economic opportunities.”

Efforts by the Government, Industry, and Community to Combat Food Waste

Food waste is a pressing issue in Australia, and we need everyone on board to tackle it. That’s why the government, industry, and community are joining forces to fight food waste together.

Government Initiatives

The Australian government has taken significant steps to address food waste through policy interventions and strategic partnerships. Here are some key initiatives:

  • National Food Waste Strategy: The government has developed a comprehensive strategy focusing on all stages of the supply chain to minimise food waste.
  • Food Donation Programs: Implementing schemes to encourage food producers, retailers, and consumers to donate surplus food to charitable organisations rather than discarding it.
  • Research and Innovation Funding: Investing in research projects and innovative solutions to tackle food waste within the country.

Industry Initiatives

Various industries in Australia are proactively working towards minimising food waste through sustainable practices and technological innovations. Here are some notable efforts:

  • Supply Chain Optimisation: Implementing advanced inventory management systems to reduce overstocking and optimise distribution, thereby curbing food wastage.
  • Packaging Innovations: Developing eco-friendly packaging solutions that extend the shelf life of products and reduce spoilage.
  • Consumer Education Campaigns: Collaborating with government agencies to educate consumers about responsible purchasing habits and the proper handling of food products.

Community Initiatives

At the grassroots level, community-driven projects play a vital role in raising awareness and fostering habit changes related to food consumption and waste reduction. Here are some initiatives led by local communities:

  • Community Gardens: Encouraging local communities to cultivate their own produce, promoting a deeper connection with food sources and reducing reliance on commercially grown products.
  • Food Sharing Networks: Establishing platforms for individuals and businesses to share excess or unused food items with others in the community.
  • Educational Workshops: Hosting workshops on mindful cooking, meal planning, and effective food storage techniques to empower individuals with practical skills for minimising food waste at home.

The collaborative efforts of the government, industry stakeholders, and local communities underscore Australia’s commitment to combatting food waste on multiple fronts. By addressing this issue collectively, we can make significant progress towards building a more sustainable and responsible approach to food consumption and management.

Taking Action at Home: Best Practices for Individuals

Food waste is a critical issue that individuals can address through simple yet impactful actions in their own homes. By adopting best practices and making conscious choices, you can significantly contribute to reducing food waste.

Empowerment Through Everyday Actions

Empower yourself to join the fight against food waste by implementing practical strategies in your daily routine. Simple changes can make a substantial difference in minimising food wastage.

Practical Tips for Reducing Food Waste at Home

Here are some effective tips to help you minimise food waste in your household:

  • Proper Storage Techniques: Store perishable items such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy products appropriately to extend their shelf life. Utilise airtight containers and refrigeration to preserve freshness.
  • Meal Planning Strategies: Plan your meals ahead of time to ensure that you only purchase and prepare the necessary ingredients. This helps in avoiding overbuying and subsequently discarding unused food items.
  • Creative Ways to Use Leftovers: Transform leftovers into exciting new dishes or incorporate them into future meals. This not only reduces waste but also adds variety to your culinary repertoire.

By incorporating these practices into your daily life, you can actively contribute to the reduction of food waste while positively impacting the environment and your household budget.


The war on food waste is a collective effort that requires collaboration between individuals, businesses, and the government. By implementing the strategies discussed in this article and supporting relevant initiatives in their communities, Aussie’s can make a significant impact in reducing food waste in Australia.

Here are some key takeaways to inspire action:

  1. Collective Action: Addressing the issue of food waste requires a united front. It is not just the responsibility of one entity but rather a joint effort involving individuals, businesses, and the government.
  2. Implementing Strategies: Aussies can start by incorporating practical tips into their everyday lives. This includes proper storage techniques to prolong the shelf life of food, meal planning strategies to minimise waste, and getting creative with leftovers to avoid throwing away perfectly good food.
  3. Supporting Initiatives: Readers can also contribute by supporting local initiatives and organisations that work towards reducing food waste. This may involve volunteering at community gardens, donating excess produce to food banks, or advocating for policy changes that prioritise sustainable practices.

By working together, we can make a significant impact in reducing food waste in Australia. Remember, every small action counts and plays a vital role in achieving a more sustainable future.

Let’s join the war on food waste and make a difference one plate at a time.

Together, we can create a future where food is valued and not wasted. Let’s inspire others to join this movement by sharing our own efforts and encouraging them to take action. By raising awareness and advocating for change, we can pave the way for a more sustainable and equitable food system. So let’s roll up our sleeves, get creative with our leftovers, and make a conscious effort to reduce food waste starting today.


About the Research & Citations

  1. www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/australia-reduced-food-waste-by-700-million/
  2. FIAL (2021). National Food Waste Strategy Feasibility Study
  3. https://www.ozharvest.org/fight-food-waste/
  4. OzHarvest & Southern Cross Austereo Research, 2017
  5. FAO Infographic – Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction
  6. IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land
  7. Wasted! The Story of Food Waste film
  8. www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/hard-to-swallow-how-climate-change-is-affecting-australian-food/