April 5, 2023

What if no food went to waste?

What throwing our food away is really costing us, and how it doesn’t need to be this way.

It’s no secret that a lot of food goes to waste globally. However, sometimes it’s hard to truly understand how much is thrown out. Let’s break it down.

How much food do we waste and why?

Currently, we throw away around one third (that is, 33%) of all the food we produce globally. According to the United Nations, that’s approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food. Every. Single. Year.

Looking at Australia, according to the Australian Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre we throw away around 7.6 million tonnes of food – a huge number for a country with a population of only 25 million. To put that into perspective, that’s about 312kg per Australian per year. An average grocery trip for an Aussie would see them throwing out one in five bags! And what’s worse? 70% of the food we discard is predicted to be perfectly edible.

So why is this food thrown away? We’re probably most familiar with food waste once we purchase it or once it’s on our plates. This is called post-consumer waste, and it accounts for roughly one third of food wastage. Whether we didn’t finish our dinner or the food is past its due date, a lot of waste is post-consumer.

However, the majority of food waste actually occurs before it even gets to consumers. Produce is often rejected by supermarkets – sometimes it doesn’t meet the aesthetic requirements us consumers are after, or it’s not what the supermarkets are looking for, and so is destined for landfill. Retailers also, like consumers, throw food away from their shelves when it hits or even gets close to the best before date.

So, what if no food waste went to landfill?

Let’s run a thought experiment. Say we didn’t let a single gram of food go to waste. What would this mean for our planet and our economy? Let’s take a look:

  • No Australian would go hungry – we’d have enough food to feed an extra 4 million of us.
  • We’d remove 17.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions from the environment in Australia. That’s equivalent to removing the emissions of one in four cars.
  • Each Australian household would have an extra $2,500. Christmas came early!
  • Our economy would be boosted by $36.6 billion dollars as stated by the Australian Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre. Globally, we'd get a boost of over $900 billion according to the United Nations.
  • The total emissions we'd reduce would be more than getting rid of all flights.

What can be done to change food going to waste?

Sometimes we get so used to something that we think it has to be that way. But this doesn’t have to be the case with food waste. The key problem lies in the fact that we view food production as a line, and not as a circle.

This is where the idea of a circular economy comes into play. By getting rid of the idea of ‘waste’, we can transform the way we think about food production and consumption.

Food that goes to landfill is not ‘waste’ – it’s a resource. It can be used in different ways to produce goods, which includes more food. At Bardee, we imagine a world where this is a reality – and it’s something we’re working towards every single day.

By feeding food waste to over a billion black soldier flies at our facility in Melbourne, we produce organic fertiliser which can then be used on crops and in gardens to create more food. From this world-leading vertical farming system we also create high-quality insect protein, which is used in livestock feed and pet food.

Food that would otherwise be rotting in landfill is transformed into fertiliser and protein – turning the food production line into a loop.

Zero food waste is not just a thought experiment – it’s a future we’re creating at Bardee.

Get in touch with us today to see how we can help your business reach zero food waste with our food waste service!

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