Late last month, the federal government unveiled a new $4 million body with the sole focus of reducing the nation’s food waste. It describes this as a crucial step in its mission to halve the millions of tonnes of food that ends up in landfill every year by 2030.
Badged Stop Food Waste Australia, the new body was heralded earlier in 2020 and, according to Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley, it will bring together the brightest minds in supply chain management, food waste NGOs and all tiers of government to tackle the problem.
“Australians have focused on recycling for years, but very few of us think about the amount of food that we waste every week,” Ley said. “To put it in perspective, every year, we throw away more than 7.3 million tonnes of food at a cost to the economy of more than $20 billion and on average, households are throwing away up to $3,800 of food a year.
Ley added that Stop Food Waste Australia will work with industry to create real, practical changes that help everyday Australians reduce their food waste like adding clearer instructions on packaging for storage or creating consistent package design with easier to find use by or packed by dates.
Dr Steven Lapidge, the inaugural CEO of the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), will lead Stop Food Waste Australia as CEO. He has spent much of his 20-year career working for or with agricultural and environmental CRC’s, with a strong focus on new product development, commercialisation, extension and adoption.
Lapidge said that the partnership has the experience to drive real change. “We’ve got a passionate and committed group of Australian food industry leaders around the table,” he said.
“Between all our Stop Food Waste Australia partners, we work across the entire food supply chain and that is exactly what is needed to tackle the system-wide problem of food waste here in Australia.”
Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans said food waste has a knock-on effect that even hurts our farmers.
“When we waste food, we also waste the precious resources that are used to make it: land, water and the work of our farmers plus the energy used to process, package and transport the food from farm to fork. Stop Food Waste Australia will support change in all parts of the food supply chain, from farmers and food manufacturers through to retailers and households.
“By reducing food waste, we can improve business bottom lines, put money back into household budgets and make better use of our natural resources.”
Stop Food Waste Australia will comprise of the following members:
- ACT NoWaste
- Australian Food & Grocery Council
- Australian Food Cold Chain Council
- Australian Institute of Packaging
- Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
- Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre
- Green Industries South Australia
- National Farmers Federation
- National Retail Association
- New South Wales Environment Protection Authority
- Queensland Department of Environment and Science
- Sustainability Victoria
- Waste and Resource Action Programme (United Kingdom)
- Western Australia Department of Water and Environmental Regulation