Ashburton District Council is joining 43 other councils to investigate issues associated with household food waste across New Zealand.
One hundred and twenty random households in the district will have their rubbish contents examined as part of WasteMINZ's National Food Waste Prevention Project.
The audit, set to take place next month, will help identify how much food waste is being generated across the district and what it is comprised of. This information will be combined with the findings from other participating districts.
Assets Management Officer Craig Goodwin says most people are not aware of the how much edible food and food waste they are throwing away and how much it is costing them, or how much it costs Council to dispose it.
"Evidence from overseas has shown that once people become aware of how much they're wasting and what it's costing them, they start to change their behaviour and reduce their food waste and save themselves money."
Council rubbish bags will be collected from the kerbside at random by the auditor. They will then be taken away to where the auditing will take place.
On each day of the audit, waste collected from these households will be brought together and separated into individual categories and measured. Then all the waste will be sent to landfill on the same day it is collected.
"The information collected will help develop strategies aimed at saving households money spent on food that ends up in the rubbish and keeping edible food out of landfills."
Mr Goodwin says keeping edible food out of landfills is not only good for the environment but it is also good for Council budgets.
"Currently our statistics are telling us that Council is transporting and disposing on average about 900 tonnes per year of kitchen waste collected from the kerbside to our regional landfill at a cost of about $137,000 per year. Even a moderate reduction to these volumes is a cost saving worth pursuing."
As well as carrying out the audit, a survey is also being undertaken to help build a picture of the district's food waste.