Waste truth hard to digest, expert says
FEW think about it when eating, cooking or even selling food, but waste is becoming a more prevalent issue in the modern age, according to a waste and recycling expert.
Jenny Campbell, the director of Encycle Consultancy, said food waste happened on every step of the supply chain, from supermarkets and restaurants down to individual households.
She said on average, food waste made up half of waste put into a household bin, but that it did not behave the way people might think once it hit landfill.
“Food in landfill does not generally degrade back into the soil like it might if we compost it or the way that plant matter breaks down naturally,” she said.
“In landfills, there is no air so the chemical breakdown reactions produce methane gas, which is 25 times worse at warming our planet than carbon dioxide.”
Despite Australian soil being notoriously difficult to grow food in, Ms Campbell said at least a third of what was produced was thrown away.
“Fruit and vegetables produced for our supermarkets must meet stringent standards of shape, size, colour and regularity,” she said.
“Supermarkets, retailers and restaurants try to be careful not to waste food once it enters their store as this impacts on their costs directly. However, the need to have a range of food available at all times for consumers means that there is still a huge amount of food wasted.”
With the average household throwing away $1000 worth of food every year, Ms Campbell said there were easy ways available to reduce food waste that weren’t being u sed enough, including giving excess food to the needy.
Encycle Consultancy director Jenny Campbell.