The issue of human food wastage is something that I genuinely believe very few people understand the actual scale of. This is especially so in New Zealand. Like a great deal many things, the small size of New Zealand leads many to feel that the impact we have on the world is quite minimal. Whether or not this is the case, our actions do have an impact at home. The unfortunate reality is that the impact we are having on our own countries environment is very significant. One of the biggest areas we are impacting our environment is through food waste.
In this post, I will specifically single out the more alarming statistics around food waste in New Zealand. This issue, however, has wide-reaching affects our environment and society which warrants future exploration.
Globally Around 1/3 of Food Goes to Waste:
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation identified that over one-third of all food intended for human consumption goes to waste. Unfortunately, the scale of this issue does not decrease when focused in on New Zealand. Kiwi’s send a resounding 160,000 tonnes of food to waste every year.
Most of NZ’s Food Waste comes from Households:
It is very easy for consumers to disassociate from this issue. Food waste can be seen as something not caused by the individual, but rather, food producers. A significant amount of food is sent to waste by food producers and supermarkets. The truth is, however, that over 2/3rds of New Zealand’s food waste comes from households.
Bread is the Most Common Food Wasted:
Over 15,000 tonnes of bread is sent to landfill every year. That is equivalent to over 29 million loaves worth! After bread Kiwi’s waste leftovers, oranges & mandarins, apples and bananas the most. Love Food, Hate Waste‘s study determined that the vast majority of this waste was caused by two factors:
1) Not correctly storing the food
2) Cooking more food than required
I cannot recommend enough the resources provided by Love Food, Hate Waste. They are excellent for helping you understand the issue of food waste and how you can reduce your impact. Taking five minutes to read their resources won’t be wasted. Understanding the causes of food waste can have real impacts on reducing your waste footprint. Food waste is a huge issue for all New Zealanders and one that we all should be paying more attention to.