3 Australian food waste organisations to be inspired by

Throughout this campaign, we’ve kept the focus on food waste in the restaurant industry; how important it is, how information and action in Australia is lacking and how we can learn from other countries’ efforts. However, if we have piqued your interest in food waste – and we hope we have – there are great organisations in Australia that will help you learn more about food waste, how to reduce your own output and how to consume more sustainably.

Without further ado, here are some of the leading few in their own words…

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  1. Food Wise“With the FoodWise website, our aim is to create a one-stop food sustainability website where people and organisations can share information. While the average food shopping expedition can fast resemble a mine field, we’re about building public understanding of the power of consumers and what we can do to build a better food future.

    By bringing together a community of people who love food, we want to create a more sustainable approach to the way that we grow, distribute, consume and dispose of that food.

    In other words, FoodWise is a how-to guide to cooking up real change.”

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  2. OzHarvest“OzHarvest is the first perishable food rescue organisation in Australia that collects quality excess food from more than 2,000 commercial outlets and delivers it, direct and free of charge, to more than 800 charities.

    OzHarvest is the only food rescue organisation in Australia collecting surplus food from all types of food providers including fruit and vegetable markets, supermarkets, hotels, wholesalers, farmers, stadiums, corporate events, catering companies, shopping centres, delis, cafes, restaurants, film and TV shoots and boardrooms.”

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  3. Love Food Hate Waste“Love Food Hate Waste aims to raise awareness about the environmental, economic and social impacts of food waste in NSW and reduce the amount of good food being sent to landfill.

    The program is run by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and delivered in partnership with NSW businesses, not-for-profit organisations, local councils and community groups who share a commitment to reducing food waste.”



Why measurement is the first step to reducing food waste

One of the biggest hurdles we face in trying to reduce food waste is the lack of facts and figures telling us just how much is being wasted, and what this waste means. This is a particularly true of the restaurant industry – Sydney alone has thousands of restaurants, making waste difficult to monitor.

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Luckily, campaign and research project Watch My Waste is here to help gather and provide the information that we need. The project allows businesses and individuals to track their food waste, a process which also aims to help businesses save money reduce and save money.

Watch My Waste also clears up for us just how significant food waste is. The Food Waste Greenhouse Calculator compares food waste to the equivalent use of electricity, petrol and the amount of CO2 that is released into the atmosphere as a result. The connection between food waste and climate change is often forgotten, but the calculator makes it easier to understand to impact each kilo of waste has on the environment.

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For individuals, taking the ‘What’s On Your Plate?’ survey forces you to consider the way that you eat at restaurants and the waste that is produced when you do so. If you’d like to be more mindful and understanding of the waste that is produced by you and the restaurants you eat at (and how it is managed), I would highly recommend taking the survey by clicking the link above.

For anyone running a food business, getting involved in waste auditing can help you understand your business, contribute less waste to the landfills and save money.

Recycle Like A South Korean: How South Korea keeps food out of the landfill

Over the course of this campaign, we’ve looked at how 2016 has been a year for positive change in dealing with food waste; innovative new apps, inspiring chefs and huge legislative changes from France & Italy. Now, we will take a look at a country that has been taking action against food waste since the mid-90’s: South Korea.

In 1996, A ‘Food Waste Reduction Masterplan’ was launched by the South Korean government and over the last two decades, new schemes have been introduced every few years to help reduce food waste.
In 2005, after years of building up a strong recycling program for homes and restaurants, food waste was banned completely from landfills. Instead, food waste is disposed of in separate containers before being taken to facilities where it is ‘crushed and dried for animal feed or fertilizer or burned to generate electricity‘, thus preventing the production of harmful methane.

These sustainable disposal methods are combined with measures taken to change people’s attitudes towards food waste in South Korea. Food waste bins require the user to swipe a card, tracking how much waste each individual is creating and determining how much each person pays for the waste service. The government has also increased the price of plastic bin bags by 30% since the start of the year, making waste reduction a financially wise decision for South Koreans.

The recycling rate of food waste has risen from 2% in 1995 to 95% in 2009 and since the introduction of ‘pay-as-you-waste’ volume-based charging, districts in Seoul alone have reduced household food waste by 30 percent and restaurant food waste by 40 percent.

South Korea’s dedication to reducing food waste has had hugely beneficial results and allowed for a nation of people who are aware of the waste they are creating. South Korea show no sign of slowing down, with plans to invest and reduce more over the coming years.

Here at Taste Over Waste, we think decisive legislative change like this is the key to making a real, significant difference and we think Australia needs to do the same. If you agree that the Australian government needs to take swift and decisive action, please sign our petition HERE




Legislate Like A Frenchman: How France Is Dealing With Food Waste

France’s decisive, hard-line lawmaking has made international news several times this year — unfortunately, not always for great reasons. However, when it comes to waste management, France has made some decidedly positive strides this year.

In September, a major law was passed to ‘ban single-use cups, plates and cutlery‘, and many other food industry changes have taken place including more detailed food labeling, crackdowns on dangerous substances, and more rigorous control of the fast food industry by looking to the unhealthy food as a source of higher tax.

Perhaps most significant to the issue of food waste was the law passed in January of this year ruling to slap major supermarkets with a fine of 3,750 euros for failing to donate excess food, or dispose of via compost or farm feed.
The law has faced some controversy, with some questioning the extreme nature of fines, and comparing it with Italy’s incentive-based approach. One Salvation Army manager has also said that the law does not get to the root of the homeless and hungry problem in France and does not consider that many charities do not have the ‘logistics‘ to deal with a huge influx of donations.

However, in a country wasting 7 million tonnes of food every year, while thousands go hungry, this law will make a huge difference.

Here at Taste Over Waste, we think decisive legislative change like this is the key to making a real, significant difference and we think Australia needs to do the same. If you agree that the Australian government needs to take swift and decisive action, please sign our petition HERE

What can YOU do about restaurant waste?

Worldwide and complex issues like food waste can feel impossible to overcome but individual efforts are the first step in changing attitudes and behaviours on a large scale. Here are a few ways that you can be the change you want to see in the world and reduce your restaurant waste.


Have you ever sat back after in a restaurant and concluded that you simply COULD NOT finish the rest of your meal? Have you ever paid $10 + for a meal then walked out having eaten just over half of it? If you have, you’re not alone – uneaten meals are a huge contributor to restaurant waste (approximately half a kilo of waste per meal) and it simply doesn’t make financial sense. Countries around the world are now campaigning to promote the beauty of the doggy bag, or the family bag as Italy has re-branded it. Taking your leftovers home in a doggy bag can stretch your spending across two meals prevents the dilemma of either overeating or food waste. It’s a win-win!


Some of the most significant contributors to waste in the restaurant industry are buffet-style restaurants. As we mentioned in yesterday’s post, some chefs have taken the issue into their own hands, but you as a consumer can play your part too. Remember that your eyes may be bigger than your stomach, and don’t overload your plate. Take your time and go back for seconds after the first plate is done and perhaps don’t go with the intention of ‘making your money’s worth’!


In this Internet age, we should be able to have a good idea of what we are supporting when we spend our money and Food Forager makes this a little easier. The Australian-based site reviews restaurants and other small businesses on a number of issues related to sustainability, charity and environmental awareness – including food waste. Next time you’re scouting for a cool new cafe to check out, try Food Forager over Yelp and spend your money wisely.

Finally….Sign & share!

One last effort you can make to prevent food waste? Sign our petition! Here at Taste Over Waste, we believe legislative change is the key to making a big impact and reducing our food waste relatively quickly. Read more about our petition here, sign it here and please share with your friends and family so that we can make a change!

4 chefs who are leading the fight against food waste

Massimo Bottura & David Hertz

In the midst of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, world-renowned chefs Massimo Bottura & David Hertz launched RefettoRio Gastromotiva. The program produced 5,000 meals daily for the hungry citizens of Rio using only leftover food from the Olympic Village that would otherwise end up in the bin. The program also provided training ‘for aspiring restaurant professionals, including cooks, bakers, and servers’, adding a positive note to a highly controversial and problematic event.

Dan Barber

In March of 2015, famous New Yorker chef Dan Barber briefly transformed his restaurant Blue Hill into WastED, a pop-up establishment dedicated to using leftover scraps to create delicious meals. Barber was inspired to react against the ‘wasteful food culture of America’  and take a note from other cultures across the world where ‘food isn’t wasted; it’s bled into the culture through cooking and through cuisine.’ Barber admits that the approach might be received as a kind fad amongst the privileged of New York, although it is such an important attitude issue, we hope not.

Giovanni Tafuro

Swiss restaurateur Giovanni Tafuro made headlines in April 2014 when he took over popular restaurant Patrizietta and swiftly introduced a 5 franc fine for unfinished meals. This policy by Tafuro upon realising the amount of food wasted each day by patrons of the 12 franc all-you-can-eat lunchtime buffet. “I wanted to send a strong signal,” Tafuro said. “It made me sick to see so much food being thrown out.” Ultimately though, Tafuro said, the move was symbolic and designed to raise awareness amongst customers about the huge amounts of food waste generated by all-you-can-eat buffets.

Our petition for legislative change

and read about it all below.

Italy and France have taken decisive action and we think Australia should, too!

As the demand for food increases and climate change worsens, food waste remains a crucial yet overlooked issue. 3% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions comes from organic matter in landfills as hundreds of thousands of tonnes of edible food are wasted each year and more and more people go hungry.

Restaurants and businesses, in particular, waste up to 40% of all purchased stock yet little has been done to resolve the issue.
We say, why not? Other countries have successfully implemented legislation against food waste in businesses and small government programs like Bin Trim and Compost Revolution have worked well in individual restaurants.

We need more than just optional programs at this stage—we need the government to take legislative action and introduce change state-wide in order to get every single restaurant effectively measuring waste, donating where possible and disposing of food waste sustainably.

Please sign the petition (link at top of page) and share with friends & family to encourage change in Australia!