Edible food ending up in landfill

12/03/2015 12:00 a.m.


A recent study reveals that every year the average New Zealand family throws away more than $563 worth of edible food.

Based on the national findings, Ashburton District is sending nearly $7m worth of food waste to landfill every year.

The extent of the food wastage was discovered when an audit of council rubbish bags and bins across the country was undertaken to try and find out exactly which foods New Zealanders were throwing away and why.

Ashburton District Council Assets Management Officer Craig Goodwin says the audit revealed a staggering amount of edible food is being thrown away every week.

"Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise.

"A waste composition audit on kerbside bags carried out by Ashburton District Council in 2012 revealed 45.5% of their contents was organic waste originating from the kitchen." 

The national average shows showed that over 30% of the rubbish placed into kerbside collections is food waste.

Mr Goodwin says what did come as a surprise from the nationwide study, was the amount of food that was thrown away which was still edible.

"Whole loaves of bread, unopened yoghurts and uneaten apples are just some of the foods that were found in our audit and in other audits across the country." 

The nationwide project surveyed 1365 people and investigated 1402 rubbish bags to find out why food is being wasted and what can be done about it. The results for the Canterbury region, of which Ashburton's results were included, were typical of the rest of the country.

The results of the survey in Ashburton found that 90% of the households surveyed are throwing out food waste, however everybody surveyed said they do divert some of their food waste by feeding it to their pets or some other way.

Only 5% of households declared they waste nothing at all.

He says the food waste issue is not only a drain on family budgets but also creates an unnecessary environmental burden.

"We have become incredibly good at farming our food and consuming it, we just need to remind ourselves we can be make these efforts go even further, and protect the environment and by consuming this food responsibly."

It is estimated Kiwis spend $872 million a year on food that then gets thrown away uneaten.

He says there are some quick and easy things that can be done to reduce food waste and keep hold of those dollars longer.

  • Store your bread in the freezer instead of on the counter to stop it going mouldy or drying out
  • Stew up any excess fruit you have that might be going soft or blend it up into a smoothie
  • Check your fridge before you go shopping to see what needs using up
  • Turn your leftover vegetables into a frittata, or make some fried rice

For more information on how to reduce your food waste go to https://www.facebook.com/lovefoodhatewastenz

For more information on the Love Food Hate Waste Campaign please contact info@lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz



Page reviewed: 19 Mar 2015 9:26am