Have you ever peered into your fridge and found several containers of leftovers that have been stacked for weeks? You’re not alone! Many of us find overlooked and forgotten items in our fridges all the time. Whether it’s for environmental, social and financial reasons, it makes sense to be smarter when it comes to maximising the food you purchase. In this post, we look at leftovers and how you can make better use of them.
Food Wastage in Australia
According to the Huffington Post, Australians waste almost $10 billion worth of food each year, with the average household throwing away about 14% of food bought. On a national scale, it adds up to $9.6 billion worth of wasted food, and surveys show Victoria and New South Wales were the main offenders in 2017. Overall, people living in urban areas and cities are wasting 6% more of food than residents in rural areas.
One of the reasons why Australians have high food waste is because of the loss of connection with food and where it comes from. In Australia, food is abundant and relatively affordable so most people see it as being disposable and easily replaceable.
Supermarket are big business in Australia and demands on them are growing, with most fresh foods now available all year round. They also come in relatively cheap, making food seem highly disposable. Most Australians also contribute to food wastage by dining out instead of consuming food they have at home.
With the increase in food waste in Australia, industries and organisations are spreading awareness on getting smarter with leftovers.
How to Use Leftovers and Reduce Food Waste
Decreasing food waste heavily relies on households and it’s a lot easier than most people think. To save money and food, one fundamental principle to follow is buying only what you need and consuming what is available.
Organising the household’s shopping list, planning meals ahead, taking regular checks on one’s fridge before grocery shopping, making smaller meals, maximising ingredients and learning ways to be more creative with leftovers will also help. Managing your fridge and what’s inside it is the first step and once people master this, it will become second nature.
Leftovers can also be donated to organisations such as FareShare who make meals for people in need. Aside from making use of leftovers, FareShare fights food waste and hunger.
Today, a growing number of organisations have made efforts to rescue quality food surplus from supermarkets. Also, there are many farmers and businesses are operating charity kitchens in places all over Australia.
National Leftovers Day
The National Leftovers Day was created by not-for-profit organisation DoSomething in 2009 to celebrate their love for leftovers. This day aims to reduce food waste during holiday seasons and even all year round. The National Leftovers Day is also about saving the environment and making the most of food.
Australians can participate in the National Leftovers Day in many ways, such as taking inspiration from what the best chefs are preparing with leftovers, planning ahead with your food for the festive season, cooking with leftover ingredients, and sharing with friends on how to reduce food waste this Christmas.