Photos taken in my kitchen, 4 April 2017
Food waste is a very serious problem in today’s society and as human population continues to increase, the amount of food production and waste significantly increases simultaneously. In 2013, a research was conducted by the Australian Environmental Department and it was estimated that food waste cost Australian households more than $8 billion each year. This waste causes environmental damage as it produces large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions..
In order to effectively understand food waste, I conducted a waste audit for one day of my own daily meals. I chose Sunday for this waste audit as I have a busy lifestyle on the weekdays and do not have the time to cook anything other than my breakfast. The following is a breakup of my meal plan for Sunday:-
- 10:00 AM – Protein Power, Milk, Bananas, Frozen Berries, Peanut Butter and Honey
- 11:00 AM – Eggs, Coriander & Butter Toast
- 12:00 PM – Juice – Beetroot, Celery, Apple, Watermelon, Mint
- 1:30 PM – Beans, Rice, Tomatoes, Onions, Cumin Seeds, Bay leaves, Lebanese Bread
- 4:00 PM – Pasta, Chicken Breast, Cream, Pesto Sauce, Tomatoes, Onions, Mushrooms
- 5:30 PM – Coffee, Sugar, Milk, Paper Cup
- 8:30 PM – Pasta, Bolognese Sauce, Chicken Breasts
- 10:30 PM – Ice popsicles
Waste Produced – Waste- Banana peels, Small bits of Berries stuck to blender, Honey & Peanut butter bits at the bottom, thin coating of milk on the sides, Egg shells, Egg Yellow base, Some stale coriander leaves, juice pulp leftover, little rice, onion peels, cumin seeds stuck to rice, bay leaves are thrown since they are just added for flavour, tomato juice while cutting, Pesto sauce stuck to plate, Coffee cup, Plastic from Ice popsicles and other packaging.
Solution for Waste – Most of the waste produced by me is organic and cannot be reused. The scraps of a sum of all my meals are mainly shells, peels and vegetable leftovers. I cannot further use these leftovers so I usually create two different bins:- organics & packing/plastics. As a resident of UTS:HOUSING, we have two chutes for waste disposal, one consists of recyclables and the other of Organic Garbage (Green Bins) and I just have to put each of my garbage bags into their respective chutes. Another alternate to prevent wastage of stale vegetables, is buying fresh and calculated amounts of vegetables for each day itself since the Woolworths ie. open till 12 AM is only a 300m walk from my residence.
UTS Food Waste System – Each morning, the green bins are collected and loaded into such a machine known as ‘the dehydrator’ located in the basement of building 10. The machine heats to about 85 degrees and dehydrates the food scraps, reducing their volume and weight by around 80 per cent.Dehydrator turns the waste into a clean, dry, soil-like material that is used by EarthPower in Western Sydney as a fuel for generating renewable energy.
Canape Event was an awareness event organised by UTS and a part of “Wealth from Waste”. The event focussed on educating the guests about the efforts being made by UTS in terms of sustainability, it also outlined the benefits from composting and growing organic food, all the food that was being served at the event was organically produced using recycled soil. It demonstrated the loop from starting to finish, having zero waste.
There were professional caterers had prepared these organic dishes such as rice paper rolls, small organic food pots/gardens through long-term planning, while serving, the caterers had a list of ingredients that was used to prepare a specific dish to educate and take these useful practices back home.
As for the food waste audit within the event, I feel that there was still a lot of food wasted as there might have not been a strict calculation of guests attending thus over production of food items could have been avoided.
http://newsroom.uts.edu.au/news/2016/11/food-flight, viewed 4 Apri 2017
UTS:Sustainable Futures, Processing Food Waste, Sydney, Viewed 4 April 2017
Food Waste Statistics, National Waste Policy, Australia, Viewed 4 April 2017
UTS 2013, WASTE MANAGE PLAN 2013-2015, Sydney, Viewed 4 April 2017,