Edible food items, both perishable and non-perishable, can be given to organisations who help people in need. This also delivers huge environmental benefits.
Many businesses involved in food production and/or retail end up with significant amounts of edible food, both perishable and non-perishable. Throwing this food in the bin is a waste in many ways:
- These food items could be redirected to people in need, who may otherwise go hungry or malnourished
- Food production often requires huge amounts of energy, water and carbon emissions (one kilogram of beef, for example, requires 50,000 litres of water to produce). As well as the resources needed to produce the food, the packaging, transport and storage of food also requires energy and resources, and produces greenhouse gas emissions.
- At the other end of the food cycle, the decomposition of food sent to landfill produces methane, a gas that is about 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
Non-perishable food such as canned food, rice and pasta can be donated to a number of charitable organisations. Perishable food such as bread, dairy products and fresh produce can also be donated but not all organisations can accept these foods. Most charities accepting food donations offer pick services (however this may incur a small fee) or drop offs can easily be arranged (but check first, especially for large quantities or for food that requires refrigeration).
A Love Food Hate Waste resource called The Food Donation Tool Kit provides information about how to donate surplus, edible food and helps you identify which charity is most appropriate for your organisation. The Tool Kit can save your business money and ensures your surplus food is provided to support those in need.
What Happens When It’s Recycled?
Hunger relief organisations such as Ozharvest and Foodbank collect food from businesses with good food and groceries that are excess to demand, slow moving, short dated, or unable to be sold, and would otherwise go to waste. They then sort, store and distribute food to accredited welfare agencies and charities throughout Australia. The donated food is then used to prepare meals or provide food parcels for those in need. If donated straight to a charity it will be used in the same way, but only certain charities are able to accept donations directly.