How much food do we waste?

The average household general rubbish bin in Merri-bek contains 41% food. This is 5220 tonnes of food waste that goes to landfill every year. All the water, energy, land, fertilizer, hours of labour and investment in equipment used to process, package and transport that food are wasted. Unnecessary greenhouse gases were generated in the process.

Once in landfill, food waste breaks down in a way that produces methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. These impacts all add up to food waste being a major cause of climate change.

Nobody likes wasting food – we would all prefer to buy only what we need and eat what we have. But somehow our busy lives get in the way.

Most household food waste is avoidable!

Many people don’t realise how much food they waste – the average Victorian household throws out approximately $2,200 worth of food each year. But by understanding why and where food gets wasted, you can change a few simple habits to have a big impact.

Get a snapshot of your food waste:

1. Clean out all unwanted or expired food from your fridge and pantry before your next grocery shop and put it on a table or the kitchen bench.

2. Take a photo to show the extent and type of food waste. Before throwing away, use the key below to record WHY the food was wasted and WHERE it was disposed of.

3. Take a photo of any food wasted from your meals for 1 or 2 days, again recording WHY it was wasted and WHERE it was disposed of.

At the end of the Eat it, don't bin it challenge revisit your photos and be amazed at just how much less food you are wasting!

It's important to:

  • Record ALL food disposed of (i.e not eaten) including inedible portions like fruit and vegetable peelings, teabags, bones etc
  • If there are days or meals where no food was wasted / disposed of – record ‘No waste’ and the reason (e.g. meal was eaten outside the home, ordered takeaway and none was leftover, leftovers taken to work/school the next day)
Table listing different ways food is disposed of and the reasons