Love food, hate waste

12 March 2015

New research shows food waste is costing New Zealanders $872 million a year, with the cost to households in Wellington totalling nearly $106 million.

Infographic with statistics about food waste in New Zealand
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The source is household food wastage, and everyone has a part to play in reducing its financial and environmental toll, say the organisers of the ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ campaign launched today.

The campaign is being run by Councils nationwide and is based on research that included surveying 1,365 New Zealanders, examining the contents of 1,402 household rubbish bins and giving 100 families diaries to record food disposal for a week. Findings include: 

  • It is estimated Kiwis spend $872 million a year on food that then gets thrown away uneaten.
  • We throw away over 122,547 tonnes of food a year – enough to feed around 262,917 people, or half the population of the Wellington region for 12 months.
  • Bread, fruit and vegies, and meal leftovers are the most commonly discarded foods. The equivalent of 20 million loaves of bread is thrown away uneaten every year.
  • The average household sends around 79 kg of edible food to landfills every year.
  • In Wellington, avoidable food waste costs the average household nearly $599 a year, totalling nearly $106 million for the region as a whole.

In Wellington, the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign is being overseen by the region’s nine Councils through their joint Waste Steering Committee. Wellington City Council Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown says the amount of wastage is a concern for both households and for the environment.

“Wasting food drains family budgets and creates an unnecessary environmental burden,” says the Mayor. “There are big implications for greenhouse gas emissions, eliminating this wastage would have the same effect as taking over 118,107 cars off the road.

“This programme builds on Wellington’s investment in strategies to reduce food waste in the Capital, including Wellington-based initiative Kaibosh, who aim for zero food waste, zero food poverty.”

The research showed most people don’t realise how much good food they are throwing away and how much it’s costing them.

The Love Food, Hate Waste campaign aims to bring the problem out into the open and provide information to help Kiwis cut the waste. It highlights the importance of planning food purchases and meals, being smart about food storage and being creative with leftovers. See www.facebook.com/lovefoodhatewastenz for more information