Tips on how to reduce food waste

Did you know…

  • Australians throw out between $8-10 billion of food every year
  • 4 million tonnes of food end up in landfill every year
  • Australians waste up to 20% of the food they purchase. This is equivalent to 1 out of every 5 bags of groceries purchased
  • The average Australian household throws approximately $1,036 worth of food away every year

Out of the $8 billion, what do we waste every year?

We hate food waste, so we’ve put together some simple tips on how to reduce food waste at home or at work.

How to reduce food waste at work

Order corporate catering wisely

Use our handy quantity guidelines to ensure you order just the right amount of catering for your next working lunch or corporate event. Alternatively, our friendly consultants are experts in corporate catering and will be happy to assist you. We’ll make sure no one goes hungry, while at the same time, no food goes to waste.

Doggy bag it

Doggy bags are a great way to reduce food waste! Extra food can be placed in the office kitchen for other staff to enjoy, or allow staff to take doggy bags home.

In-season food

Ordering food that is in season is good for the environment. Seasonal food is likely to be locally produced, which means you’re also supporting our farmers and growers. Plus, it’ll be fresher and taste better. Win-win!

reduce food waste - how to store tomatoes

Care for the environment

When possible, use reusable plates, serve ware, cutlery and glasses. At your next working lunch, conference or corporate event, use glasses and pitchers of water instead of bottled water.

When choosing disposal items, choose utensils and serve ware that can be recycled or composted.

At Order-In, we make sustainable packaging a priority. We recommend and provide bio-degradable corporate catering boxes and utensils to our corporate caterers.

Temperature control

Store food correctly to optimise its lifespan and avoid food poisoning. Make sure your fridge and freezer is set to the correct temperature. Cold food should be stored in the fridge at 5 degrees or colder to reduce the spread of bacteria. The freezer should be less than -18 degrees. Store any leftover food in airtight containers or wraps.

Here are some additional tips for organising your fridge.

Donate, don’t discard

An estimated 1.9 million Australians go without food because they can’t afford it. We’re passionate about food and giving back to the community and support organisations like OzHarvest. If you’ve ordered too much food, or if a meeting has been cancelled at the last minute, don’t just chuck it. Donate your still-consumable food to OzHarvest and they’ll redistribute it to the people who need it most.

donate extra corporate catering to OzHarvest

How to reduce food waste at home

Plan before you shop

Before you go grocery shopping:

  • Plan your meals for the week so you don’t buy things you don’t need or are unlikely to use
  • Check what you have in the pantry and fridge before you shop
  • Make a list – it will save you time and money

Buy what you need

Buy only what’s on your list and avoid impulse buys! If you only need 1 capsicum for a recipe, don’t buy a bag because it’s on special. A lot of food waste comes down to simply buying too much at the supermarket to begin with.

Funny-looking produce is OK to eat

Food is awesome in whatever shape and size it comes in. Just because it looks funny or isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it’s not good to eat.

reduce food waste - how to store asparagus

Fee fi fo fum

When unpacking your groceries, use FIFO (First In, First Out). This means moving older products to the front of the fridge, freezer or pantry and putting the newer products in the back. You’re more likely to use the older stuff first before it expires, thus reducing food waste.

Use your leftovers

Designate one day a week to using your leftovers or food items that are about to expire. Leftovers can be frozen and saved for later or packed for tomorrow’s lunch. Check out some easy lunch ideas for work here.

Maximise it

Vegetables, bones and meat scraps could be used to make stocks. Use rinds and citrus fruit zest to add extra flavour to meals. Don’t throw away overripe fruit – use it in smoothies, muffins or cakes. Wilted vegetables can be used in soups or combined with other ingredients to make a delicious and healthy juice.

If you’ve got a surplus of fruit, why not freeze it (mmm mango smoothies), make jam or chutney or pickle it.

make a smoothie out of surplus fruit

Store it better

If you’re regularly dealing with pest problems, or throwing away stale chips, cereal and biscuits, it’s time to invest in quality, air tight containers. Reusing glass jars is also an inexpensive way to store food items and it’s environmentally friendly.

Make sure your fridge is running at maximum efficiency so food stays as fresh as possible

  • Check the seals and the doors close tightly
  • Keep your fridge at between 3 to 5 degrees and the freezer at between -15 to -18 degrees

Here are some extra fruit and veggie storing tips to keep them fresher longer

  • See ya later floppy celery sticks! Wrap celery stems in aluminium foil to keep them fresh and crunchy
  • Store onions and potatoes separately - keeping them together actually sends them off faster
  • Place potatoes in a paper bag and store in a cool, dark place. Don’t store them in the fridge as the cool temperatures will convert the potato’s starches into sugars more quickly
  • To keep carrots fresher longer, cut off the tops and wrap them in a damp cloth before placing in the fridge
  • Store apples in the fridge to keep them fresh and crisp

reduce food waste - how to store leafy greens

Use-by dates

Expiration dates don’t always mean the food is off. They’re just a suggestion for peak quality, however, if stored properly, most foods will stay fresh several days past the “use-by” date.

If it looks, smells and tastes ok, it should be fine to eat, otherwise, it’s time to toss it.

We hope these tips will help you to reduce food waste in the office and at home. And remember, if you have excess or unneeded corporate catering, please feel free to contact OzHarvest on 1800 108 006. We hope you’ll also support this worthy cause by donating a dollar to every order you make through Order-In. Simply tick the donate to OzHarvest button during checkout. Best of all, we’ll also donate $1 every time a customer donates. 100% of this donation goes directly to OzHarvest. 

For other tips on how to reduce food waste and also do your bit to reduce, reuse and recycle, check out this article in The West Australian.

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