Food waste in Brisbane

Reduce your food waste and save money, help the environment and eat a healthier diet.

How can you reduce food waste?


Top priority - This is the single most powerful action you can take to reduce food waste.

Preventing food waste starts when you shop for food.

Read our top tips for planning, preparing and storing food, growing your own produce and more.

Use these tips to help prevent food waste
  • Plan your meals - Check your fridge, freezer and pantry before you shop. Use a shopping list or app, avoid shopping when you're hungry and shop mindfully to save up to $141 per year.
  • Choose simple recipes with versatile ingredients. Less is better - aim for four to five ingredients.
  • Check portion size before cooking a meal and how many people you are cooking for. Households can save up to $412 annually by being mindful of portion size and cooking volume.
  • Check your fridge before ordering takeaway. A simple meal is often quicker than ordering in. Takeaway food also contributes to packaging waste.
  • Involve your children when preparing school lunches. Seeking your kids 'okay', helps prevent food from being left untouched in lunchboxes or thrown in the bin.
  • Store food to keep it visible and fresh - Check out our top storage tips.
  • Know your date labels - 'best before' dates provide a guide on how long you can expect food to retain its quality, whereas 'use by' dates specify when the food needs to be eaten for health and safety reasons. Many dairy products are safe to eat if they smell fresh and appear unspoiled.
  • Grow your own vegetables, fruits and herbs. Food can be grown in backyards, on balconies, windowsills or in community gardens.
  • Purchase only what you need. Buy individual items rather than in bulk. Shop at a local farmer's market so you can buy loose, fresh, locally grown produce.
  • Choose imperfect fruit and vegetables from available stores and online retailers to save food from going to waste while saving on your grocery spend.

Second priority - By reusing food you can save money and the environment.

Did you know that by reusing food, you could pocket an extra $364 per year? Read our top tips for using leftovers, extending the life of food, using labels and more.

Use these tips to reuse food
  • Use up your leftovers by:
    • dedicating one night a week to using leftover food
    • creating an eat-me-first shelf in your fridge, freezer or pantry
    • take your leftovers to work for lunch
    • repurpose leftovers into another meal.
  • Preserve, pickle and ferment to extend the life of some food. 
  • Use clear containers to store food so you can see leftover food when you open your fridge. 
  • Use labels on food items in your pantry and fridge and keep them front-facing so you can easily see what you have.
  • Freeze food before it goes off. Bananas, strawberries, bread and meat freeze well. Cut up fruit before you freeze it to use for smoothies, breakfast and desserts.
  • Mark up frozen food with the date you place it in the freezer. This helps to use the oldest items first.
  • Substitute ingredients with what you have. If a recipe calls for an ingredient you don't have, replace it with something you do have.
  • Check school lunchboxes before offering an afternoon snack. Any leftovers can have a second chance.

Third priority - Your household food scraps are a valuable resource for gardens and pets.

Read our tips on recycling food scraps by composting and worm farming, feeding pets, or using them for household products.

Use these tips to recycle your food scraps
  • Compost your food scraps. Keep a kitchen caddy or sealed container on your kitchen bench to collect food scraps before and after meals. Other food waste recycling methods include using a bokashi bin and worm farms. By composting food waste and feeding it to worms, it can be broken down naturally before it starts to emit harmful gases and used to fertilise your garden - chemical-free!
  • Regrow your food scraps. There are easy ways to regrow your food scraps and plants in your garden to fully close the food cycle. Learn more by joining your local community garden.


Read our blogs on regrowing sweet potatoes and spring onions.
  • Feed food scraps to your pets. Check the RSPCA guides about what is safe to feed animals.
  • Use your citrus peel. Soak citrus peel in water overnight to make a cleaning spray. 

Tip: Watch Use banana peels to help grow your garden on Council's YouTube channel.

As a last resort, put your food scraps in your general waste bin. 

Think first before putting food scraps in your bin! When food waste is buried in landfill it produces toxic greenhouse gas emissions.

Why do we waste food?

Food waste is usually unintentional, resulting from unexpected changes in plans and busy lifestyles.

Unplanned takeaway meals, buying and cooking too much, and a lack of time are some of the most common things that lead to food waste.

Do you know what the causes of food waste in your household are? Try keeping a food diary for a week to find out. 

Food waste facts

  • Food waste makes up approximately a quarter of Brisbane's general waste going to landfill.
  • Australian households account for the majority of food waste, with approximately one in every five bags of groceries we buy is thrown away.
  • Food waste losses in Australia from farm to fork is worth $36.6 billion each year.
  • Food waste costs households up to $2,500 per year.
  • Food waste accounts for approximately 3% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Most wasted foods

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

  1. Bread
  2. Meat 
  3. Salad greens.


  • Queensland – by 2030, half the amount of food waste generated, divert 80% of organic material going to landfill, and achieve a 70% recycling rate for organics.
  • Global - by 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.1

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Topics: waste

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