Food waste in Australia
Did you know Australia produces enough food to feed everyone and eradicate food insecurity?
Australia currently creates more than 7.6 million tonnes of food waste each year – enough to fill the Melbourne Cricket Grounds nine times. This is costing the Australian economy over $36.6 billion despite 70 percent of it is perfectly edible.
Around 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food produced but wasted. In Australia, this represents 17.5 million tonnes of CO2 each year.
Australia is committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (12.3) to half food waste by 2030. We have a plan to help reach that goal. Foodbank’s food and grocery rescue operations saved 86.6 million kilograms of CO2 emissions in 2022*. We are an active participant in Stop Food Waste Australia and the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre, which are both committed to halving food waste by 2030.
We are also advocating the government to adopt a National Food Donation Tax Incentive, developed by KPMG Australia, with the support of the Fight Food Waste CRC and the food relief sector. If implemented today, this tax incentive would save around an additional 100 million meals a year by 2030, making an immeasurable difference to our sustainability and the well-being of vulnerable Australians.
Incentives along the same lines as our proposal are currently working successfully in the USA, France, Canada and the Netherlands. This approach has the potential to help generate social, economic and environmental benefits valued at $2 billion per annum. It would directly assist in achieving our ambitious food waste reduction target.
How can I help prevent food waste in my home?
More than a third of Australia’s food waste is generated in the home, so we all have a part to play. We often waste food because of confusion between best-before and use-by dates or because we’re unsure whether leftovers are safe to reheat. A little bit of food-handling knowledge goes a long way! To help fight food waste in your home, it’s as easy as clicking here. With the average Aussie household wasting $3,800 every year thanks to wasting food, it’s worth the effort!
If you’re a farmer or food manufacturer wanting to direct surplus food to Foodbank rather than see it end up in landfill, we would love to hear from you.
Page last updated: July 2023.