Food wastage costs the Australian economy $20 billion every year, while there is still nearly three million people living in poverty in Australian and globally close to 890 million. What’s more, one-third of all produced food across the world goes uneaten and equates to 1.3 billion tonnes of waste. We throw away perfectly good, edible food while one in nine people face the daily struggle and hardships of starvation.
Food wastage goes further and has significant long-term effects on the earth. Rotting food releases methane into the air equating for a huge 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions. Methane emissions from food wastage contribute to climate change and a waste of a huge amount of valuable resources. The cost to produce, farm and then deliver and sell food for it just to be thrown away is a huge waste to the land, farmer, producer and environment.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation has released statistics that proclaim that if food waste was a country it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States.
Breaking it down even further and looking at food waste in Australia and the real effects on the environment and population, we throw one in five shopping bags in the bin, whilst 644, 000 people receive food relief each month. The face of hunger is diverse from the homeless, unemployed to people with jobs, students, single people and families, those with disabilities, refugees and Indigenous Australians.
Although we believe we live in the lucky country, Australia exports more than half of what we grow and produce, whilst there are still many Australians who are unable to acces basic food needs.
The cost of living in Australia is forcing people to choose between paying their bills or feeding themselves or their families.
OzHarvest was founded in Sydney in 2004 by Ronni Kahn after seeing the huge amount of food wasted by the hospitality industry. OzHarvest began operations in Newcastle in February 2010 and has redistributed more than 4.5 million meals to more than 100 charities that service the local community.
OzHarvest is the leading food rescue organization in Australia and the only perishable food rescue organisation in Newcastle and Hunter region. For every $1 donated OzHarvest are able to deliver two meals to people in need in the community. OzHarvest relies on donations in order to continue their daily work of collecting excess food and to fund nutritional programs and training for disadvantaged youth.
In the run-up to Christmas, there is an abundance of food wastage in the home and in hospitality venues with people spending and purchasing huge amounts of food for celebrations, family gatherings, parties and catering. The Sydney Junction Hotel has partnered with OzHarvest Newcastle for the month of December to raise awareness of the food wastage crisis in Australia. The Sydney Junction Hotel hope that by OzHarvest volunteers participating in the Local Legends initiative they can collectively raise upwards of $10, 000 which would help provide 20, 000 meals for people in need in Newcastle and the Hunter Region.
The Sydney Junction Hotel encourages all their patrons to make more conscious decisions about the food they purchase and throw away this coming holiday season. We invite everyone to donate to this great organisation across the month of December and to make smarter choices within your own homes to lower the amount of food wastage in Australia. Follow the simple philosophy 'Buy what you'll eat and eat what you buy' to help becom a less wasteful household.
How OzHarvest help at Christmas time. This is Paul's story