The hospitality industry – and the people in it – are at the heart of everything we do here at Doshii. Within that industry, food waste is a huge issue contributing not only to issues of lost revenue and high overhead costs, but also to wider global problems of climate change, sustainability and food insecurity.
April 27th is Stop Food Waste Day, and here in Australia, nobody knows more about the issue than the team at OzHarvest. We spoke to their Sustainability Project Manager, Monique Llewellyn, to learn more about the issue and to get her top tips for reducing food waste at every level in our daily lives.
Doshii: First of all, what should everyone in Australia know about food waste?
Monique Llewellyn: One third of all food produced globally goes to waste. That’s around 931 million tonnes of food wasted, each year! At the same time, there are over 800 million people around the world who do not have enough to eat.
Wasting food is a huge problem, not just for people but for our planet. Not many people know that food waste is a major contributor to climate change. When food ends up in landfill it produces a powerful gas called methane, which is 28 times more toxic than carbon dioxide. In fact, wasting food is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions – more than the aviation sector!
D: What is something every Australian can do at an individual level to combat daily food waste?
ML: Whilst food waste is generated at every stage of the supply chain, the majority comes from our homes – Aussies throw away 1 in 5 shopping bags per week and 70% of the food we bin is still perfectly edible! But, the good news is tackling food waste at home is the single most impactful action each of us can do, starting today to tackle the climate crisis.
Our research showed that using up your food before buying more is the best way to reduce food waste at home. Check out our quick and easy recipes to transform commonly wasted ingredients into delicious meals. Plus, great tips and tricks from top chefs and OzHarvest supporters.
D: On a greater scale, what can venues (of all sizes) do to tackle operational food waste?
ML: Donate any surplus food, either with OzHarvest or other food rescue organisations.
D: Do you have any examples of Aussie venues tackling food waste in innovative ways?
ML: Our latest project is a social impact collaboration with world-renowned chef, Massimo Bottura – Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney This initiative is an Australian-first based in Surry Hills – and part of Massimos’ global program to feed people in need of a warm, nourishing meal. Based on our zero-waste philosophy, rescued ingredients are transformed by OzHarvest chefs into gourmet vegetarian meals.
D: What standards would you like to see adopted at an industry level in hospitality?
ML: First, sign up to Australia’s Food Pact at Stop Food Waste Australia to make our food system more sustainable, resilient, and circular. Then set food waste targets and measure them against the business’s CSR strategies. Finally, any businesses with surplus food should be donating it, either with OzHarvest or other food rescue organisations.
D: For those overwhelmed by the idea of going 100% sustainable, what are some small first steps everyone can take?
ML: To help tackle household food waste, we’ve developed the Use It Up tape™ a world first product that makes it easy and fun to see what food needs using up in your fridge or pantry, which can then be transformed into your next meal!
Get the Use It Up tape™ from OzHarvest free of charge, or make your own, then once a week make a meal using these items.
The Use It Up tape™ can be used in your fridge, freezer, or pantry to mark a shelf for food that needs using up, or it can also be stuck on individual items. Once you can see what needs to be used, you’re more likely to Use It Up.
D: Can you run us through OzHarvest’s mission and future plans for tackling food waste in Australia?
ML: OzHarvest believes in a future where no one goes hungry and food is valued, not wasted. We are committed to stopping food waste, feeding people in need and protecting our planet by connecting Australia to the value of food and driving change at all levels of society.
Our work is driven by our four pillars: Feed, educate, advocate and innovate.
- We feed people in need. Through our fleet of food rescue vans, we’re working hard to keep good food out of landfill and delivering it free of charge to charities that provide food relief to people in need every day.
- We educate to create change. We’re changing the way people think about food, increasing life skills around healthy eating and strengthening community connections through our three education programs: FEAST, NEST and Nourish.
- We advocate for sustainability, championing the value of food and influencing others to stop food waste. Last year we launched Use It Up, our first campaign to tackle household food waste.
- And we innovate for social impact.
D: What one thing can everyone do this Stop Food Waste Day to make a difference in their community?
ML: Become a champion for fighting food waste and Use It Up! It’s all about starting good habits at home and then sharing them with your friends and family.
Save food. Save money. Save the planet.
To learn more about how you can help combat food waste, head over to OzHarvest and the Stop Food Waste Day website for more tips and expert advice on how to reduce your food waste now.