Families throw away good food


The average Kiwi family throws away more than $563 worth of edible food every year, according to a recent study.

The food wastage was discovered when an audit of rubbish bins collected by Councils was undertaken to try and find out exactly what foods New Zealanders were throwing away and why.

Tasman District and Nelson City Councils have been part of this nationwide project, which surveyed 1,365 people and investigated 1,402 rubbish bins, to find out why food is being wasted and what can be done about it.

Nelson City Councillor Gaile Noonan says the audit has revealed a staggering amount of edible food is thrown away every week. “This comes as no surprise. We have known for some time that over 30% of the rubbish placed into kerbside collections is food waste.

“What did come as a surprise was the amount of food that’s being thrown away which is still edible. Whole loaves of bread, unopened yoghurts and uneaten apples are just some of the foods that have been found in these audits,” says Gaile.

The results found that 27 per cent of households admit to being large food wasters and throw out more than $21 per week of edible food, while 38 per cent of households admit to wasting $8 per week. In Nelson and Tasman, 19 local families took part in a kitchen diary project, recording all their food waste in a week. This found they disposed of an average 3.3kg of edible food per family each week.

Tasman District Councillor Judene Edgar says it’s surprising that only 10 per cent of households declared they waste nothing at all.

“This is not just about the waste of food, it is also about the time and expense to manage the waste. While predominantly organic, it is still 30 per cent of waste that does not need to be transported to or managed within a landfill. Minimising our food waste has benefits beyond the household budget,” she says.

For more information on how to reduce your food waste go to the Love Food Hate Waste Facebook page.