How to reduce the amount of food waste and packaging in your home

Food waste and packaging are two massive problems for people and for the planet. According to recent research from RMIT University, 2.7 million tonnes of food waste is created in households throughout the country. This amount ends up in landfill, showing just how pressing this issue continues to be.

With the global population expected to increase by 2 billion more people by 2050, this problem is likely to only get worse, unless action is taken quickly. Read on for handy hints how to minimise the amount of food and packaging waste your family creates. 

Consider the chain

It's important to realise that the term food waste is generally applied to the end of the food chain, referring to distribution, sale and consumption. The RMIT University research also highlights that the majority of food waste is generated by humans and could be prevented if sustainable measures are put in place. As the demand for food is expected to increase by more than three-quarters (77 per cent) by 2050, the issue of waste continues to be a pressing international concern.

As a considerable amount of waste is created by consumers, it can be helpful to think about the journey food makes before it ends up in your kitchen. Choosing how and where you shop for food can have a big impact on creating a greener, more sustainable food system and this can be applied to various elements of the food process. This means considering the transport you take to the shops, how you carry and store your products and even how you cook them to cause as least harm as possible on your local surroundings and the environment as a whole.

Small changes

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) cites research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showing that every household in the country created approximately 400 kg of waste every year during the 1990s. This means Australia was one of the largest contributors to the global waste issue among OECD countries. In addition, data from Clean Up Australia, Cleanaway and Clarence Valley Council in New South Wales suggests that one tonne of recycled cardboard or paper can save 13 trees, showing just how far-reaching even the smallest changes, such as switching to eco-friendly products, can be.

Therefore, incorporating green alternatives throughout your home can have an impact not only on your household budget and levels of waste in the short term but can also contribute to reducing the amount of planet-harming landfill which is created in the long term too. Similarly, choosing produce bags and other reusable items to carry and store your food in is another effective way to cut back on the amount of plastic, cardboard and other non-sustainable packaging options. Shop at your local market and store the goods in your own bags for the most green, sustainable choice for both food production and packaging.

Think about the future

Creating a more sustainable, environmentally aware food and packaging choice doesn't stop after you've done the shopping and eaten your meals, either. Extend eco-friendly household choices in the way you manage the waste your house creates. For instance, taking certain plastic and cardboard items to your local recycling centre, after you've reused them as much as possible, is one way to ensure that your food waste ends up in the most eco-friendly place possible. Similarly, buying reusable sandwich wraps and other green container choices can mean that less pollutants such as plastic and other related materials are made in the first place, thus decreasing the amount which ends up as waste in the longer run as well.