Food waste occurs across the entire food supply chain from production on the farm, to consumption by customers.
Food waste costs families: between $2,200 and $3,800 a year – one in five shopping bags you purchase ends up in the bin.
It costs Australia: 7.3 million tonnes of food is wasted every year and nearly four million tonnes of food is sent to landfill, at an estimated loss of $20 billion to the Australian economy each year.
Food waste costs the hungry: five million Australians experienced food insecurity last year, according to Foodbanks 2019 Hunger Report. Reducing food waste can help to get safe, healthy food to those that need it most.
And it also costs the Earth: if global food waste were a country, it would consume 32% of global food supply by weight (at a cost of $1.8 trillion), 25% of all water used in agriculture, 23% of all the fertilizer used on Earth, and 1 in 4 of all food calories available on the planet. It would also be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the USA (8% of global greenhouse gas emissions); and utilize a crop land area the size of China.
Join us to explore the world of waste—minus the bad smells. We will get a whiff of the solutions that scientists are cooking up to address our perished produce problem.
Dr Polly Burey is a senior lecturer in food science and a chemical engineer at the University of Southern Queensland. She believes that food waste is an untapped resource with many potential applications beyond just landfill. Her core research focuses on the microstructure and composition of food, to determine its use in shelf stable products. Her practical focus is on transforming horticultural food and its byproducts into useful ingredients, products and materials such as bioplastics.
Mark Barthel is a special advisor at the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre. He has 25 years’ experience of sustainable innovation in the agri-food sector, with a strong focus on tackling food waste. The Fight Food Waste CRC brings together industry, research and the community to reduce food waste, transform unavoidable waste into new products, and engage with the community and business to drive change.
This is the first event in a six-part series. Throughout this series, experts from around Australia, will cover a range of topics relating to food and nutrition, including food waste, gut health, Australian native foods, edible insects, GM foods, the future of nutrition and more! Visit the series page for more information and tickets to other talks.