Food Waste is Not a Bite Sized Issue

In HSN105 Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems, undergraduate students have an opportunity to investigate some of the big challenges and opportunities in transforming diets and food systems worldwide. Josie, a HSN105 student, has been invited to share a blog on household food waste in Australia. 

Josie Vovos is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Nutrition Science at Deakin University. Throughout her studies she has learned of the difficulties that the world faces in ensuring a more sustainable food system. With problems comes solutions and she hopes to one day see these solutions put into action. Josie is excited for the future as she aims to continue her studies in nutrition in the hopes to further her knowledge in dietetics at Deakin.

Did you know that in Australia one person alone generates over 361kg of waste each year? That’s right, and that number is not getting any smaller, in fact it is only going to increase if we continue to treat food the way we do today.

How big is this problem?

We are not the only ones to blame, this is a global issue.

Around the world;

  • 30% of cereals
  • 45% of fruits and vegetables
  • 20% of meats
  • 30% of fish and seafood and
  • 20% diary

produced each year is wasted.

It is unsettling to know that close to 821 million people around the world don’t have enough nutritious food to eat. But how can we not have enough food to feed the world when, at the same time, we waste so much? This is a great injustice in the modern global food system.

Food waste also causes significant environmental harm. Organic matter, such as food scraps and surplus crops, end up in landfill where it produces harmful methane and carbon dioxide gas. and contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions. What a toxic cycle.

It is common knowledge that food loses its value as soon as it is picked, caught or harvested according to the incredibly high standards of the food market. The fussy nature of the industry is turning perfectly edible food into poison. It’s an unsustainable approach to food production and consumption.

Who is addressing the problem?

Organisations such as SecondBite and OzHarvest have implemented the idea of donating edible food, that would once be considered not worthy of selling, to nutritionally vulnerable members of the community. This is also known as ‘food rescue’,  where less food is committed to landfill and more people are fed.

How can you help?

Everyone contributes to waste. Everyone can and should take action by:

  • Composting where possible.
  • Thinking in advance – being able to predict and be realistic about the amount of food you purchase and being able to make use of it before it turns inedible.
  • Save leftovers.
  • Influence others to make change.
  • Support Deakin’s on campus fight against waste and composting activities.

Tips provided by Victorian Government ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign.

It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the sustainability of the planet. Only time will tell who will take action on the war on waste.

Click here for more information about Deakin IPAN’s research into physical activity and nutrition or follow IPAN on Twitter @DeakinIPAN


Join the conversation

back to top