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The Food Waste Challenge


Almost 1/3 of food produced is either lost or wasted. In countries like Australia, most of this occurs after we have bought the food.

Factors like a busy lifestyle have meant that we don’t stop to think about the food we consume or throw away. Australia creates food waste that amounts to over $8 billion each year. In NSW alone, each household throws away more than $1,000 of food per year. That’s a total of $2.5 billion. Put a number on it and that’s 800, 000 tonnes of food tossed in the trash – even though one in eight of people around the world go to bed hungry. Imagine coming back from the supermarket with 4 bags of food and putting one straight into the bin – that is how much food we waste.

So other than a big waste of money, what’s the problem? Wasted food puts pressure on our environment. Greenhouse gas emissions are created from growing, fertilising, transporting and storing food, but also through decomposing the food that we chuck out. And what about water? Throwing food away is like leaving the tap running. It is a huge waste, and is contributing to extreme environmental degradation.

And how does this relate to the fact that one in eight people in the world are hungry? The links are more direct than we might imagine. Climate change caused by excessive greenhouse gasses, such as methane from rotting food, is having a huge effect on farmers all over the world. In particular, small scale farmers who are reliant on predictable weather are the hardest hit. These farmers and their families cannot grow enough food to eat or earn an income when these dramatic weather events wipe out their livelihoods.

This year, Oxfam Australia and the NSW Environment Protection Authority invite you to harness the power of design and communications for social change and come up with solutions to reduce food waste in Australian homes. Anyone with design, writing or marketing skills can respond to the challenge and potentially have their work turned into a national campaign. Find out more here.


What do you think?