According to this article, Australians throw away an estimated three million tonnes of uneaten food a year, worth $5 billion.
Statistics are just as startling in the UK with £10 billion of food going to waste and in the US food wastage adds up to around $100 million.
On average, each household is throwing away around 30% of food uneaten. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average basket of groceries for a family in 2007 cost $281 per week. Based on these numbers, if you throw away 30% of this food, this is costing you over $4,300 each year.
How much do you spend on groceries and how much of that goes straight into the bin?
If you do only one thing to reduce your grocery bill, reducing your food wastage would have to be it.
Ways to reduce your food wastage include:
- Plan the meals that you are going to eat and write a shopping list for the things that you will need for those meals. Stick to your shopping list and avoid impulse buys.
- Make the most of leftovers or reduce your portion sizes so that there are no leftovers that go to waste.
- Check used by dates on food regularly and plan meals around the food that you have on hand before it expires.
- Make good use of the freezer.
- Store food appropriately to prevent premature spoilage.
- Involve children in the choosing of meals and preparation so that they take ownership of their food, and are more likely to eat it. Give them smaller portions of food rather than throwing out what they don’t eat.
- Make the most of the food that you buy. Use vegetable peelings for vegetable stock, meat bones for meat stock, compost your scraps, feed them to the chooks.
Apart from the cost of throwing away uneaten food, there are also environmental considerations:
- Discarded food rotting in landfill releasing methane gas 20 times more potent than the Co2 from car exhausts into the atmosphere.
- Over 64% of water use in Australia is for agriculture, so when you discard a kilo of beef, it’s estimated that you waste up to 50,000 litres of water that was used to produce it.
- Processing, packaging, refrigerating and transporting food have significant fuel and energy costs. The more we waste, the more we buy, the greater the environmental cost of production
Save money and help the environment by reducing the amount of food that goes straight into the bin.
Grab your copy of Plan Cook Save to learn more ways to reduce food waste, save money on the groceries, save time in the kitchen and eat well on a budget.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.