Updated November 2017
Page 1 - Click image to enlarge
Page 2 - Click image to enlarge
1. Supporting efficiency and innovation in agriculture
Key players: Australian Government, state and territory governments, primary producers, academic institutions.
In Australia food that does not make it to the consumer can result from weather, pest and diseases or not meeting market specifications. Some businesses have identified opportunities to use unwanted produce—for example, turning broken or bent carrots into packaged carrot sticks for sale in supermarkets.
2. Assessing food ordering, transport and storage practices
Key players: food and grocery retailers, primary producers.
Food and grocery retailers are assessing their supply chains to maximise the shelf life of food and to improve their ordering systems so that the food ordered accurately reflects demand.
Households should consider the food they buy and how they store it. They should only buy what is needed and use ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates effectively.
3. Using packaging effectively and sustainably
Key players: food processing and manufacturing industries, state and territory governments, Standards Australia, Australian Government.
Effective use of packaging can increase the shelf-life of food products but it can also make food waste unsustainable for composting if it is not disposed of separately. The Australian Government partners with other jurisdictions and industry through the Australian Packaging Covenant to improve packaging design and increase the recycling of packaging.
4. Encouraging partnerships between food and grocery retailers and charitable organisations
Key players: food and grocery retailers, food rescue organisations.
Major food and grocery retailers in Australia have partnered with food recovery organisations and committed to reducing the amount of food waste that goes to landfill. This means retailers can meet their food waste reduction goals and also help charities to alleviate poverty and reduce food insecurity.
5. Conducting household education and community initiatives
Key players: state and territory governments, local governments, not-for-profit organisations.
A number of state and territory governments have invested in public education campaigns to reduce food waste. Some local councils are also encouraging home composting by providing their residents with home compost bins or offering a rebate on composting equipment.
6. Diverting food waste from the commercial food sector
Key players: state and territory governments, commercial food sector, academic institutions, not-for-profit organisations.
Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia have piloted programs to turn food waste from commercial kitchens into compost or fertiliser. Businesses save money because they no longer have to pay landfill fees. Tools for businesses to self-assess their food waste practices have also been developed, including the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s DIRECT, the ‘Dynamic Resource Efficiency Calculation Tool’.
7. Investing in alternative treatment technology and infrastructure
Key players: state and territory governments, private sector, Australian Government.
A number of states are upgrading their waste treatment infrastructure, particularly for organic waste. For example, in May 2017 a large scale biodigester was opened in Western Australia to treat food waste, generate electricity and produce compost for agricultural uses. These investments are often funded through landfill levies.
8. Finding incentives for alternatives to disposing of food waste in landfill
Key players: state and territory governments, waste management sector, private sector.
Because landfill is relatively cheap in Australia compared to other parts of the world, it can be difficult to make alternative food waste treatment technologies cost effective. To address this problem, most states and territories have introduced levies or fees to dispose of organic waste to landfill. This makes alternative treatment methods such as biodigestion and composting more cost effective options for businesses.
9. Creating value from food waste
Key players: academic institutions, Australian Government research institutions, private sector.
A number of research and development activities are taking place to find the best value uses for food waste. Research organisations, including CSIRO Agriculture and Food, are supporting the development and commercialisation of new bio-products.
10. Standardising data to measure food waste and track its reduction
Key players: waste management sector, state and territory governments, private sector, Australian Government.
Standardising waste data will allow more consistency between the states and territories and is supported by the food industry. The Australian Government can assess where national standards will make a difference—for example, where standards can be used to reduce the costs associated with meeting different state and territory requirements.