Brisbane's top three most wasted foods

The top three foods that Brisbane residents throw in their general waste bin are:

  1. Bread
  2. Meat
  3. Takeaway food and soft drinks.

Prevent food wastage by following these top tips.

Bread

For many years, bread has been the number one most wasted food in Brisbane, due largely to our city's subtropical climate, which can cause bread to go mouldy quickly.

Try these top tips to stop bread ending up in your bin.

Prevent

  • Buy a half loaf next time you're buying bread. Half loaves are perfect for smaller households.
  • Choose sourdough bread as it has a longer shelf life and is more resistant to mould than other bread types.
  • Store bread correctly. Keep bread for two days at room temperature and then slice and freeze. Bread can be kept int he freezer for more than three months.

Reuse

  • Make toast not waste. Toasted sandwiches can be made from stale or frozen bread. 
  • Make chilled sandwiches for lunch by buttering frozen bread straight from the freezer and sandwich together with your favourite fillings. Your sandwich will be defrosted by lunch!
  • Make fancy French toast. It's as easy as whisking an egg and some milk together and then dipping your frozen or stale bread into the mix and frying. Experiment with cinnamon, fruits, and maple syrup, or try savoury options with cheese, herbs and meats.
  • Make bread and butter pudding – a delicious way to use up stale bread.
  • Make your own breadcrumbs. Transform stale bread and leftover crusts by whizzing them into breadcrumbs using a food processor or blender. Use any type of bread. Once blitzed, store them in the freezer or zip-lock bag to use for crumble toppings, stuffing, or coatings for meat/fish/vegetables.
  • Add some crunch with croutons. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and slice your bread into bite-sized pieces. Add your cut bread to a mixing bowl with some olive oil and season to your liking with salt, pepper, and/or your favourite herbs and spices. Spread your croutons onto a greased baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, or until the they are golden. Add croutons to your soup or salads and store any leftovers in an airtight container or bag.
  • Use your microwave. Did you know you can rescue stale bread in the microwave by placing it in for 10 seconds. 
  • More great ideas:

Recycle

  • Feed stale bread to pets. If safe to do so, feed old bread to chickens or other pets. Check the RSPCA web guides on feeding animals.
  • Compost stale bread
    • Apply for a $70 compost rebate and recycle stale bread with a bokashi recycling system.
    • Find a neighbour on ShareWaste to drop off your stale bread and other food scraps for recycling.
    • If the food waste recycling service pilot is available in your area, put your stale or mouldy bread in your green waste bin for industrial composting.

Meat

Beef and poultry is second on Brisbane's top waste foods. Plan your meals so you can make the most of meat and prevent it and your money from going to waste.

Try some of these top tips to prevent meat wastage.

Prevent

  • Eat less meat. Swap one meal per week with a vegetarian dish and use up your vegetables.
  • Eat meat first. Plan your meat meals early in the week.
  • Only buy what you need. Purchase the right amount for your meal having regard to the number of people eating and portion sizes.
  • Use your freezer. Freeze your leftovers for another meal. Put the date on the container.
  • Store it right. Raw meat and poultry can be stored in the fridge for three to five days. Cooked meat will keep in the fridge for five to seven days. Visit Love Food Hate Waste's A-Z of food storage to find the best storage and freezing options for beef, chicken and other poultry.

Reuse

  • Make pies and pasties. Turn leftovers into delicious pies and baked treats with Pampas Re-Pie-Cling recipes.
  • Create stir fries and salads. Cut any leftover steak into strips and use it in a stir fry. Any cooked meats can be added to salads, sandwiches, or wraps for lunches.
  • Make toast not waste. Make toasted sandwiches with leftover meat for a quick and easy lunch.
  • Make tasty stock or broth with meat bones or a poultry carcass.
  • Make meatballs by chopping up any leftover meat, adding breadcrumbs and spices and browning them in a pan.
  • For more great ideas, check out OzHarvest's Use It Up recipe cards for leftover love inspiration.

Recycle

  • Feed leftover meat to pets. If safe to do so, feed leftover beef or poultry to pets. Check the RSPCA web guides on feeding animals.
  • Compost stale bread
    • Apply for a $70 compost rebate and recycle beef or poultry with a bokashi recycling system.

Takeaway foods and soft drinks

Takeaway foods and soft drinks are number three on the top waste foods in Brisbane. Order, store and eat your takeaway using the following tips and avoid wastage.

Prevent

  • Check your fridge and pantry first before ordering takeaway meals. You can create simple and delicious meals at home using only a few ingredients and a small amount of time and energy.
  • Drink water instead of buying soft drinks. 
  • Only order what you need. Order less food, rather than more and share meals with others. If you do order too much, eat leftovers the next day.
  • Eat leftovers. Label leftovers with an 'eat-me-first' sticker.
  • Buy smaller. To keep soft drink fresher for longer, buy smaller cans or bottles.
  • Make your own drinks. Swap store-bought soft drink with homemade drinks such as flavoured sparkling water.
  • Store it right. Open soft drinks should be resealed tightly and stored in the fridge.

Reuse

  • Eat your leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • Add soft drinks to your cooking. Cola drinks can be used as an ingredient in some cake, meat and poultry recipes.
  • Make ice blocks. Soft drinks that have gone flat are great for freezing into ice blocks. Simply pour the soft drink into ice block moulds.
  • Use as cleaning products. Cola products can make powerful non-toxic, household cleaners.

Recycle

  • Feed leftover meat to pets. If safe to do so, feed leftover beef or poultry to pets. Check the RSPCA web guides on feeding animals.
  • Compost stale bread
    • Apply for a $70 compost rebate and recycle beef or poultry with a bokashi recycling system.
    • If the food waste recycling service pilot is available in your area, put your stale or mouldy bread in your green waste bin for industrial composting.
    • If you have a home compost system, pour your flat soft drinks over the compost pile. The sugar helps to break down the green and brown matter faster.
  • Use it in the garden. Flat soft drink is a great fertiliser for plants. Pour the soft drink on the soil around the base of your plants (not on the plant or plant roots).

Related links

**This article was updated in April 2022.**

Date posted:
Last updated: 21 April 2022
Topics: green

Brisbane City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and their unique relationship with their ancestral country. We pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of Brisbane, and recognise their strength and wisdom.