Aussies Binning A Billion Dollars In Fruit And Veg

According to AUSVEG, Australian households are throwing out $1.1 billion in fruit and vegetables a year – it’s not just wasteful from a humanitarian viewpoint, it’s an environmental problem too.
AUSVEG, Australian’s national peak industry body for Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers, says all up Aussie households are throwing out $5 billion worth of food annually.
While Australian households are turfing $616 of fruit and vegetables on average each year, there is a marked difference between high income and low income families; with the former discarding $803 worth per year and the latter binning $518 annually.
The food waste problem isn’t confined to Australia of course. Back in 2010, I published some astonishing food waste figures for the US and the UK.
The issue of millions around the world not having enough food aside, food waste is a major environmental problem in that it takes a great deal of resources to get food from the farm to our fork. Rotting food also can generate potent greenhouse gases.
AUSVEG Senior Communications Officer Courtney Burger says a way to combat this wastage is to experiment with new recipes that incorporate a lot of vegetables, use slightly older vegetables to make a healthy soup and planning meals around what’s already in your fridge.
I’ve also published a series of other tips for cutting food waste that you may find useful.
However, Ms. Burger points out that it’s not just households to blame for the massive wastage – directly. It also occurs within the supply chain as a result of retailers not accepting produce because it does not meet cosmetic criteria. Miss Burger quotes an example of bananas – an estimated 10-30% of bananas are discarded before they hit the shelf.
As consumers, we’ve been trained to demand blemish free fruit and veg. I’m as guilty of this as anyone. Courtney offers this advice to folks like me: 
“As consumers we also need to change our attitudes towards fresh fruit and vegetables and stop expecting them to be perfect and unblemished, because if we accepted produce that was slightly imperfect then retailers may have more relaxed selection criteria and this could combat this excessive waste.”
On my next shopping day, I’ll try to put Courtney’s advice into practice.