The 40 kilos of food waste found in rubbish bins as part of the Love Food Hate Waste audit. Photo/Supplied
The Average household in Tauranga throws out $563 worth of food annually, a report shows.
The National Food Waste Prevention Project found the city discarded up to $25 million worth of food each year.
The research was funded by 45 councils across New Zealand and found nationally Kiwis wasted $872 million of food a year.
The most common foods wasted were bread, left-overs, potatoes, apples and poultry. Food that had expired, was old or stale and partially eaten and forgotten foods made up most of the waste.
Tauranga City Council waste minimisation programme leader Rebecca Maiden said the audit had revealed that a staggering amount of edible food was thrown away each week.
“We have known for some time that over 30 per cent of the rubbish placed into kerbside collections is food waste,” she said.
The amount of food being thrown away that was still edible was a surprise. “Whole loaves of bread, unopened yoghurt, apples, are just some of the foods that have been found in audits across the country.”
Lavina Good, manager of Food Rescue – set up to prevent food going to waste – said the $25 million of wasted food in the city was disgusting.
“We have saved 27 tonnes of food from the landfills in the last year and diverted it to 15 different charities in Tauranga, but there is still a lot of food being thrown away from our businesses.”
Mrs Good said the food that had been saved did not belong in a landfill.
“It looks fine, is edible. Most of the bread we have picked up has only been baked the day before. “When I make my children bread, if I buy it on the Monday, I am still going to be making their lunches on the Tuesday and Wednesday with the same bread. I have no issues with bread which has been baked a day before.”
Tauranga Community Foodbank Trust manager Nicki Goodwin was shocked at the amount of food being wasted in the city.
The waste would come down to the amount of money available in a person’s budget, she said.
“There would be a large part of society who wouldn’t waste food, because they are so budget conscious. People who are budget conscious, who are down to their last $20 or $30 per week, would not be wasting food.”
Mrs Goodwin said foodbank recipients would often look through a food parcel and, if there was something they could not or would not eat, they would hand it back.
“It would happen several times a week, maybe if they were vegetarian and couldn’t eat meat or they didn’t eat certain things.”
Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Diane Bruin said waste happened when people did not plan and bought food for the week from the supermarket, but then bought takeaways too.
One way of cutting down on waste was to do meal plans each week, she said.
“People buy unnecessary items if they don’t work out a plan each week. So what they do need is purchased and in the pantry but what they don’t need is left behind.”
– Bay of Plenty Times, Ruth Keber.