The reason for all the rhetorical questions is actually the answer. Australians are unaware of food wastage. Take for example a typical Australian opening their pantry and reach for an item only to find it has past the use by date. Many Australians wouldn’t think twice about discarding this item. Relegating it from the pantry shelf to the garbage bin. Hmm the garbage bin, have you ever wondered what your garbage bin contains? And I’m not talking about when you ask yourself where that smell is coming from! I’m talking about what and how much your household throws away. The average Australian household bin is 40% food wastage. So maybe, as weird as it sounds, you should be thinking a little more about what’s in your bin.

Now, it’s not just Aussie household that are doing this either. Our supermarkets discard an estimated 20-40% of fruit and vegetables before even placing them on their shelves for the simple reason that they are not cosmetically appealing to the consumer or the supermarket. Rather shallow don’t you think?

Many people would poo-poo this and argue that if food scraps can be used on gardens and for compost as it breaks down over time, then why is food wastage such a big deal? Well, aside from the fact the we, unlike some nations are lucky to have the luxury of easily accessible and readily available food and to waste this precious commodity is a really obnoxious thing to do. Food wastage produces 25% more carbon dioxide than your car! You see, food that is plant based in scientific terms is a living organism as it grows and develops through the process of photosynthesis, and like any living organism when it dies it rots. Yes graphic and gross and terribly blunt, but it’s what happens. However, unlike when used on gardens or compost heaps, when sent to landfill the food rots, yes, but because in landfill it has no air it gives off methane. Methane: the terrible greenhouse gas environmental scientists are always warning about. So this methane is producing 25% more carbon dioxide than the amount your car is producing. I know I just repeated myself but that is a very scary statistic and something to think about next time you look in your fridge or pantry, pick up an item and say “I’m probably not going to eat that” then throw it in the bin.

Now, the answer to reducing household waste is not risking potential food poisoning by insisting on eating something that is passed the use by date so it doesn’t go to waste. But one simple way to reduce household food wastage is to keep track of the use by date on what you purchase. Possibly adopting the retail shelf-stocking mantra of ‘new to the back’ could do the trick!

Another great way to reduce wastage is to learn how to really get the most out of foods you purchase. Did you know that every part of a cauliflower is useable? The green leaves make great chicken and rabbit food. Also, celery shoots can be used in a soup or vegetable stock. Banana peels are a wonderful fertiliser for flowers and so are dried tea leaves. Another good thing about bananas, besides their amazing nutritional benefits, is their versatility. If you aren’t a fan of eating an overripe banana you can blend it in a smoothie, use it as a dairy-free alternative base for ice-cream or freeze it to make homemade banana bread or muffins. The same premise goes for overripe tomatoes; cook them up into a delicious pasta sauce.

So, get creative and maximise your foods potential and reduce your household food waste. Or, if that seems like a lot of work that you just don’t have the time to do, order Marley Spoon. We send you all the ingredients you need, measured exactly for reduced wastage, to make delicious dinners. Order now at marleyspoon.com.au