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?

Prevent

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 meal planning, smart food storage, growing your own produce and more.

Use these tips to help prevent food waste

  • Meal planning - 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.
  • Smart food storage - Check out our smart food storage tips to make your food last longer.
  • Learn which use by dates are recommended dates as opposed to fixed dates. Many dairy products are safe if they smell fresh and appear unspoiled.
  • Grow your own vegetables, fruits and herbs. Grow It Local helps households grow food in backyards, on balconies, in communities and windowsills. 
  • Purchase only what you need. Buy individual items rather than in bulk. Shop at a local farmers market so you can buy loose, fresh, locally grown produce.
Reuse

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 a eat-me-first shelf in your fridge, freezer or pantry
    • take your leftovers to work for lunch
    • repurpose leftovers into another meal.

      Tip: Check out OzHarvest's use-it-up recipes

  • 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 help 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.

Tip: Visit the Love Food Hate Waste website to enter your ingredients and find an easy leftover recipe.

Recycle

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. Leave 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 on the Grow It Local website or join your local community garden.

    Tips:

  • Feed food scraps to your pets. Check the RSPCA guides about what is safe to feed animals.
  • Use your skins. Soak citrus skins in water overnight to make a surface cleaner. 

    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

Impacts of food waste

  • Food waste makes up 30 per cent of Brisbane's general waste going to landfill.
  • Approximately one in every five bags of groceries we buy is thrown away. That's $2000-2500 of wasted food per household per year.
  • Food waste costs the Australian economy around $36 billion each year.
  • Wasting food costs Australian households $19 billion every year.
  • Food waste accounts for approximately 3 per centre of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Australia uses around 2600 gigalitres of water to grow food that's wasted.

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.

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Last updated: 20 May 2022
Topics: waste

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.