News | 6 March 2023
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What to do with your surplus food - other than throw it away!

When food grown for human consumption is wasted instead of eaten, there are negative environmental impacts – wasted emissions from production, processing and distribution, the expending of natural resources, and the greenhouse gases created when food is disposed of in a landfill.

Free store leftovers.
Image from the Free Store.

Often, despite our best efforts, we can find ourselves with perfectly good food that won’t be eaten – maybe you bought too much, have had a change in diet, or are moving cities. 

Here are some tips from our Waste Minimisation Team on things you can do with surplus food that would normally go to waste. 

Offer food to others 

This may seem obvious but offering food to friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues is a great way to redistribute it. Sharing food is really social and a great way to enable connectedness with those around you. 

Pātaka Kai pantries can be a great close to home option too! They are community-led, free pantries, designed for sharing and building community. Find your closest pantry, or learn how you can set one up in your neighbourhood.  

Facebook community pages, and pages like Freecycle are a quick and easy way to offer edible food to anyone who can use it. 

Kaibosh team boxing up kai
Kaibosh team at work.

Donate to a local food drive or charity 

Donating food to Wellington City Mission or Kiwi Community Assistance (KCA) is a good way to pass on non-perishables. Wellington City Mission operate a social supermarket, stocked with donations where people can shop for free. Donated food is also used to provide meals in their Newtown community lounge. KCA helps Wellington communities by rescuing and redistributing surplus food (and clothing/shoes) to agencies working directly with people in need. Check online to make sure they can take your donations. 

Businesses such as eateries, supermarkets and hotels can donate food to Kaibosh and The Free Store. They redistribute quality surplus food free of charge to people who need it in our commmunity. Eateries with excess food can also connect to customers using Foodprint

A person in jeans and a yellow knitted jumper crouching over a pile of compost being spready out on a lawn, with a woven basket and gardening fork on the side.

Find a place where you can compost 

If you have food that is already opened or otherwise can’t be given to people, consider ShareWaste, an app that will connect you with local households or organisations with chickens/worm farms/or compost. Cafes can redistribute coffee grounds via ShareWaste too! If we can’t feed people, our next steps should be to feed animals, and feed our soil.

As well as reducing avoidable food waste at home, we can buy/eat rescued food. Businesses who redistribute or use surplus or imperfect food are becoming more popular. Wellington currently has Foodprint, Wonky Box, and Everybody Eats.  If you haven’t already, give them a go! 

If you or somebody you know has a project focused on tackling food/organic waste in our city, our Waste Minimisation Seed Fund – Organics Diversion is open for Expressions of Interest with up to $100,000 available.