The Federal government has taken a key step towards halving food waste by 2030, with new research showing Australians created 7.3 million tonnes of food waste across the food supply and consumption chain in 2016-17, the equivalent of 298kg per person.
The figure is among the headline findings of a world leading National Food Waste Baseline report that has researched the amount of food Australia sent to waste each year.
While we recycled 1.2 million tonnes of total food waste in 2016-17 and recovered 2.9 million tonnes through alternative uses, Australians disposed 3.2 million tonnes of food waste.
The research is part of the Coalition’s $50 million commitment to reducing food waste, which included $1.37 million towards a National Food Waste Strategy.
Consulting with industry organisations, the report authors found that 65 per cent of our food waste came from either household food scraps going to landfill or agricultural harvest-ready produce that was either not picked or ploughed in.
2.5 million tonnes (34 per cent) of food waste was generated by households; primary production and agricultural pursuits created 2.3 million tonnes (31 per cent); and 1.8 million tonnes (25 per cent) was created by the manufacturing sector.
The headline findings of the National Food Waste Baseline report were released during minister for the environment Melissa Price’s recent visit to the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) in Adelaide.
The CRC has been set up to improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries and received $30 million funding by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
Over time, targeted research and industry engagement through the CRC’s work, and the implementation of the National Food Waste Strategy by Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL), will strengthen the rigour of Australia’s food waste datasets and capacity to further reduce food waste.
The findings will also allow the Australian government to create measurable baselines and develop targeted strategies to halve food waste by 2030.
The report’s headline findings are available on the Australian government’s Department of the Environment and Energy website. The full report will be published later this week.