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Food For Thought

Date: 12-May-09

Reducing wastage lowers the eco-impact of food © Amy Nancarrow

Reducing wastage lowers the eco-impact of food

Coming into winter it's nice to stock up on hearty meals. This doesn't mean we need to put extra weight on the environment.

Our food accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than our transport, and uses more water than goes into our home and garden. This is due to the fertilizers, water, transport, storage, packaging and processing involved in food production, as well as our food scrap disposal.  

Simple actions can reduce the impact of food on the planet, and on our wallet. Here's a few:

Cut down on food wastage

  • Almost 25% of the food that is purchased in Australia is wasted - that represents a huge waste of energy and resources.

  • Setting a menu plan - and shopping to the plan - is one of the easiest ways to reduce food wastage. Check out to find menu plans (great when you're busy!) and other tips like judging portion sizes, recipes for leftover food and more cheap eco-friendly ideas.

Recycle Food Scraps

  • When food scraps (and other organic material like garden cuttings) are thrown in the garbage they end up in landfill where they break down without oxygen and create methane.  Methane in a greenhouse gas with 20 times the global warming capacity of carbon dioxide.  This greatly increases the impact of our food choices on the environment.   
  • Any of the food recycling methods, composting, worm farming or bokashi buckets (and using your council's green collection service if they provide it), reduces these negative greenhouse effects.    

International Compost Week has just been held on 3rd - 9th May. Visit to find out more about how composting helps us to combat climate change by reducing harmful greenhouse gases, reducing water use and recycling nutrients.

More Info

There are many other ways to lower the impact of food and drink. For more info, factsheets and guides to composting and worm farming check out Planet Ark's Festive Recycling.

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