The dirty dozen

food waste bin

How much food waste is in your bin? Food that you have spent good money on and either not got around to cooking, stored for too long or just changed your mind about eating? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. We all do it. But the good news is, there is something we can do about it!

Council’s research shows that 1 in 5 bags of groceries end up in the bin. This means that, on average, each Brisbane household sends more than 169 kilograms of food to landfill each year. This adds up to costing you, your family and the planet a lot. 

To put this in context, our waste bins are made up of 24% food waste. This comes from our fridges, pantries, lunch boxes, leftovers, etc. This is only domestic waste and these statistics don’t include the commercial waste generated in our city.

On closer inspection of our avoidable food waste, we now know who the dirty dozen offenders are:

  1. Bread
  2. Banana
  3. Broccoli
  4. Orange
  5. Apple
  6. Pumpkin
  7. Onion
  8. Potato
  9. Carrot
  10. Poultry
  11. Lettuce/salad leaves
  12. Rockmelon

What do these items have in common?

Firstly, in our hot and humid climate, bread is the number one wasted item. Are you guilty of buying bread and letting it sit too long on the bench? Does it become mouldy? Try slipping bread in the freezer as soon as you bring it home. It thaws quickly so it can still be used for sandwiches. Or it toasts easily straight from the freezer.

For reasons similar to bread, bananas are our number two offender. They go brown quickly in our climate. Have you thought about making banana bread from them? We have a great banana bread recipe you could try out. If you only have one or two spotty bananas at a time, just peel them and slip them into the freezer until you have enough to make your banana bread. Like bread, they thaw quickly and can go straight into your cake mix within minutes. The banana bread can also be frozen and thawed as needed. Frozen bananas are also a great addition to your smoothie. Just peel the bananas and cut up into smaller pieces before you put them in the freezer.

Working our way down the list, we come to a variety of fruit and vegetables. Correct storage of these is essential to ensure longer lives for our fibre friends. Have you fossicked out your fridge manual to see how your fridge manufacturer suggests you make best use of your vegetable crisper in your fridge? If you’ve thrown that manual in the recycling bin, check online as most appliance manuals are available on manufacturer websites. If you are still unsure, check out some of our love food, hate waste tips for storing fruit and vegetables.

Surprisingly, red meat and fish don’t feature in the dirty dozen of food waste items in the general rubbish. Possibly because we already know to freeze these items to extend their freshness or to use them quickly? Whatever the reason, the good news is we are smart users of these products. But our old friends, fruit and vegetables, are definitely going to waste in our bins at home. So, Love Food, Hate Waste, and see what you can do to reduce the amount of bread, fruit, vegetables and poultry going into your bin and save money while you are at it.

Date posted:
Last updated:24 October 2019
Topics: blog green