Did you know that Australia is ranked number 5 in the world for generating municipal waste? Crazy, right?! We didn’t realise this until we sat down and watched ABC’s latest documentary series War on Waste. Hosted by Craig Reucassel, the first episode aired last night. And oh my, it was a definite shock to the system. Aussies throw out about 52 megatonnes of rubbish per year, to the detriment of our environment and also our hip pockets. That’s definitely not a statistic that we should be proud of! We think it’s important to educate ourselves as much as possible on this issue, which is why we highly recommend giving the show a watch. Hopefully you get inspired to champion some personal changes and start fighting your own #WarOnWasteAU.
1 tonne of food waste per year
Last night’s premiere episode focused on food waste, highlighting exactly how much we throw out on a regular basis. Each Australian household is guilty of sending about 1 tonne of food waste to landfill every year. Now that’s a huge figure but enormous numbers like this are sometimes hard to visualise. That’s why Craig’s shock tactic of parking a truck full of food in a supermarket carpark really worked in getting this message to hit home. It made us really think about those little bits of leftovers, that slightly bruised banana or the stale crackers that get tossed in the trash too often. Bit by bit, it might not seem like much but as one big load on the back of a truck, it was very shocking!
$3500 down the drain
The average family wastes over $3500 worth of food yearly. When you quantify this as an actual dollar value, it’s crazy to believe that so many people throw away this much money every twelve months! Imagine what you could do with that extra money! Just by being a little bit smarter with how we shop and cook, we could be saving ourselves thousands of dollars.
40% of bananas never make it to the shelves
As consumers, we contribute to a lot of food ending up in landfill, but we had no idea that millions of fruits and vegetables end up as farm waste. War on Waste talks to a farmer in far north Queensland who reveals that they throw away close to 40% of their bananas. This is because a lot of them just don’t make the cut. They might be too small, too tall, too skinny or too fat. This is a huge problem that’s a direct result of the leading supermarkets’ “cosmetic standards” for produce. Quite frankly, as long as it’s natural, healthy and delicious, we couldn’t care less what our bananas look like!
What can we do to help fight the War on Waste?
It’s really difficult to watch a documentary like this and not be inspired to action some change. Although we already try our best to keep our waste production to a minimum, there is always room for improvement. Which is why we’ve picked a few areas that we really want to work on ourselves. Everyone’s priorities will be different but these are the 3 things we’d really like to champion over the next few months. They’re only small steps but everyone’s small steps can lead to big changes!
- Meal plan and shop smarter: By planning out meals, it makes it much easier to spread ingredients out over a bunch of different recipes. Not only is this better for waste reduction but it also means you spend less money the checkout!
- Get creative with leftovers: We do understand that eating the same thing over and over again gets tedious and boring. But if you get creative then you’d be surprised how delicious leftover meals can be! There’s even a NSW government app called Love Your Leftovers that can help you do this!
- Create our own sharing community: Sometimes we can be guilty of just buying too much or cooking too much. So isn’t it a great idea to invite some friends around or gift some produce or leftovers to your neighbours? It’s really a win-win situation, none of your food goes to waste and you get to share the love around!
If you haven’t already watched the first episode of War on Waste, we highly recommend having a look. There will be a repeat screening at 8.20pm tonight on ABC2 and on Saturday 20th May at 3pm on ABC. Alternatively, you can stream the show online via ABC iview. Episodes 2 and 3 will tackle the impact of plastic bags, coffee cups and fast fashion on our environment. Stay tuned!