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Today, food has taken on a new image. People no longer consume foods to fufil their basic physiological needs...

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Australia throwing away $5.2b of food

Source AAP

The average Australian household dumps $616 worth of food in the bin each year, according to a new survey.

That's a whopping $5.2 billion in wasted food for the country as a whole - and bad news for the environment.

The survey's authors conservatively estimate that it creates as much carbon emissions as that of the iron and steel industries in Australia.

The What a Waste survey, which took in the responses of 1,603 Australians during October, found that despite being concerned about wasted food - and guilty - households threw out an average $616 worth of food annually.

Queenslanders were the worst, dumping $678 each year, followed by NSW households on $643.

Canberrans were next, followed by those in Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, with South Australians the best - only putting $517 worth of food in the dumpster.

Fruit and vegetables were the most thrown out items, followed by restaurant and takeaway leftovers and then meat and fish.

The survey also found the richer the household the more likely the residents were inclined to throw out food, with the amount of discarded items rising in tandem with the average household income.

Smaller households were also more likely to throw out food.

"Food waste has a major financial and environmental impact," campaigner Jon Dee said.

"It costs Australians billions of dollars per year, and the millions of tonnes of food waste left rotting in landfill gives off methane - a greenhouse gas 22 times more potent than the CO2 that comes out of exhausts."

The authors of the Australia Institute report believe the onus is on government to introduce policies to get people thinking smart about food shopping and waste.

They've suggested banning free plastic bags at supermarkets, which would make shoppers take their own and therefore, plan their shopping more thoroughly.

Most of those surveyed said financial reasons was the key motivator to stopping food waste, rather than environmental or humanitarian concerns.

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