Meeting this target relies on families to do the heavy lifting: the government’s 2019 National Baseline Report showed the greatest share (34 per cent) of Australia’s 7.3 million tonnes of food waste each year comes from households.
This makes Australia the world’s fourth highest waster of food per capita.
OzHarvest CEO Ronni Kahn says he think that’s a staggering amount. “We must take action if we are to achieve the national target. Cutting back on your own food waste is an easy win, both for your pocket and the planet,” she said.
Ms Giles became more cognisant of waste after having her second child and observing how food waste accumulated when catering for kids with picky tastes.
While she admits to “not doing everything perfectly”, the family’s regime of eating leftovers, planning meals and finding creative uses for old food has transformed their amount of waste.
“We now always plan our dinners from Monday to Friday, and we shop to that plan so we’re not buying on a whim or in excess,” Ms Giles said. “We also make sure our meal sizes are reasonable – you can always grab something extra but you don’t want a tonne of things left over on your plate.
“Stale bread can turn into bread crumbs, fruit can turn into jams or baked into cakes. Your overripe vegetables can quite easily get translated into a curry or soup. There’s always another opportunity.”
Now her general waste bin only fills up with one or two newspaper wraps’ worth of waste each week, while most food scraps go into the family compost.
“Everything that isn’t able to be salvaged and utilised ends up in the compost, not in landfill. It just goes back to feed the earth.”
She says they trial thing has been not doing it all at once. “We’ve taken that lighter approach and slowly tried to change one or two things a week or month, and embedded things into our family routine that way.”
Natassia is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.