Avoid Food Waste and Packaging

Australians throw away around 1.9 million tonnes of packaging each year. This is enough to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground nine times over. On average, households in Greater Shepparton sent 11.3kg of waste to landfill every week through the kerbside collection system in 2021.

That is nearly 590kg per household for the year! The best way to reduce waste is to avoid it in the first place. So, how can you do that?

Packaging waste tips

  • Cook at home, BYO containers, or dine-in
    Take away food often has a lot of packaging and unnecessary waste. Plan ahead and take meals from home. Alternatively, dine-in at cafes and restaurants to void the unnecessary packaging. Some cafes and restaurants also allow BYO containers to pick up your order, so make sure you ask!
  • Use reusable packaging
    There are so many alternatives to plastic packaging. Instead of sandwich bags and cling wrap, try using reusable beeswax or vegan cotton wraps, or silicone food pouches. Reuse glass and plastic containers as storage containers. Takeaway food containers are perfect for storing ingredients or precooked meals in the freezer.
  • Looks for item with little or no packaging
    Compare products and choose unpackaged items, items with less packaging, and concentrates whenever possible. Switch from tea bags to tea leaves and ditch coffee pods for ground coffee. Even bake your own muesli bars. Buy in bulk rather than single serves, and divide them into individual serves in reusable containers. Some stores will even allow you to bulk purchase food using your own containers. When buying fruit and vegetables, put them straight into your trolley rather than into plastic bags.
  • Say no to plastic bags
    Australians use around 10 million plastic bags every day, contributing to an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic dumped into the ocean every year. Wherever possible, use bags you already have at home, such as backpacks or cloth bags for your shopping (including fresh produce). Keep some in your car and carry one with you so you never need to take a single-use plastic bag.
  • Ban the bottle
    Just like that reusable coffee cup, everyone needs a good reusable drinking bottle. Invest in a good quality drinking bottle and say goodbye to bottled water. If you prefer filtered water, there are a range of options from in-line filters for your tap to filtered jugs to keep in the fridge.
  • Buy products in recyclable packaging
    Try to buy fewer items packaged in plastic, and avoid packaging made from multiple materials. This sort of packaging can be more difficult to recycle. If you have the option to buy an item in either a glass or plastic container, go for glass.
  • Recycle
    Unavoidable packaging should be separated into glass, plastic, paper and metal and placed in your kerbside recycling (yellow lid) bin. Soft plastics that can't be avoided, including plastic bags, can be recycled through the REDcycle program. Unavoidable food scraps should be composted, fed to the family pet or animals (chickens) or placed in the FOGO (green lid) bin.
  • Making a shopping list
    How often have you gone to go shopping for three items and walk out of the supermarket with armfuls of groceries? We are all guilty of it. Buying unnecessary food items can result in extra packaging and food waste, not to mention the financial waste. The average household in Victoria throws away $2,136 a year in food. Make a list before you leave home and stick to it. Also try to avoid grocery shopping around meal times: this will reduce that impulse buying when the cravings start.

Food waste tips

  • Grow your own food
    You can grow your own food almost anywhere. Whether it be on a balcony, under a porch or in a vegetable garden, there are a range of fruit and vegetables suitable for an empty space in your home. Growing your own food can be cheaper, is better for the environment and is so rewarding. Talk to your local nursery for ideas on what delicious food can be grown in your home. Don’t forget to check in with your local community garden as well.
  • Buy food that is in season
    It takes a lot of energy and packaging to keep out of season fruit and vegetables “fresh”. Fruit and vegetables can be stored weeks on end before they end up in the supermarkets. Choosing local and in-season produce is one way of avoiding unnecessary waste. Use this seasonal food guide or check with your local grocer on what fruit and vegetables are in-season.
  • Use leftovers and food scraps in another meal
    Yesterday’s roast lamb is tomorrow’s lamb stew. There are many ways to use leftovers in creating new meals or in a delicious wrap or sandwich. Vegetable scraps can be turned into stock that can be frozen for next time. Love Food Hate Waste is just one of many resources to help turn your leftovers into new cuisine.
  • Bread Facts #1
    Did you know bread is one of the most wasted food items in Victoria? Hold onto your hot dog buns, folks, because the stats are alarming – for every loaf that’s eaten in our state, almost half a loaf ends up in the bin. That sure is a lot of wasted dough!
  • Bread Facts #2
    Make sure you store your bread properly. Once opened, immediately re-tie the packet, seal the bag or close it up and store it in a cool, dry place (like a cupboard or bread bin).
  • Bread Facts #3
    Use stale bread to make bread crumbs to sprinkle on top of pasta bake, or to create a delicious bread and butter pudding! The internet is filled with great recipes!
  • Bread Facts #4
    Keep bread you don’t need right away in the freezer. Pull out slices as you need them, make a sandwich in the morning and it’ll be defrosted by lunchtime, or make toast from frozen bread straight away!
  • Bread Facts #5
    Victorian households bin the equivalent of 125 million loaves of bread every year, and we hope the above tips help us reduce that number.