Australia’s food waste to be cut in half with new entity
The Australian Government has recently announced $4 million in seed funding to aid in creating a new independent entity that will be responsible for driving food waste reduction in Australia.
“As part of the government’s ambitious commitment to halve Australia’s food waste by 2030, partnership proposals are being sought to establish a new governance body to drive our National Food Waste Strategy” says Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley.
Wasting more than 7.3 million tonnes of food every year, this accounts for over $20 billion in costs annually in Australia. Households account for up to a third of this, with 3.1 million tonnes of food being thrown away, costing the average household anywhere between $2,200 and $3,800.
The environmental cost incurred is also high, with around 5% of our national greenhouse emissions, alongside the 1,460 gigalitres of water that is used each year to grow Australian produce, discarded after use, accounting towards the waste.
The partnership call and seed funding is a recent move by the Government in their commitment to lead the delivery of the 2017 National Food Waste Strategy, which also provides a framework for collective action to halve food waste by 2030, as well as also implementing actions identified in the National Waste Policy Action Plan.
“This new governance body will be a catalyst for tackling waste from food in Australia by bringing together industry, businesses, government, research institutions and food rescue organisations to find innovative, practical solutions to our food waste problems.
“By reducing food waste, we can put money back into household budgets, improve business bottom lines and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill” continues the Minister for the Environment.
Speaking on the newest initiative, Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, said “the new body will support change in all parts of the farm-to-fork food supply chain – from farmers, food manufacturers and wholesalers through to retailers, hospitality, households and food rescue organisations, as well as create new jobs in food innovation”.
A key responsibility of this new entity will include the implementation of a voluntary commitment program for the industry, whilst also monitoring reporting and performance for continual improvement.
The voluntary commitment program signatories are also able to support households, offering ways to help them better manage the food they buy and grow, with the aim to waste less and save money.
“Voluntary commitment programs are a tried and tested way of reducing waste from food by focusing on prevention, reuse and food chain innovation, working with stakeholders across the food value chain to drive innovative and practical solutions” said Assistant Minister Evans.
Environmental Minister Sussan Ley said the new body will work in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, and moving forward after the initial establishment phase set up by the seed funding grant, the entity will be self-funded through industry membership fees and partnership contributions.
Although partnered with the Australian Government, the new entity will operate independently to lead Australia’s in addressing issues and creating solutions.
Applications for the partnership close on September 2 2020. Find out more here.