The Love Food Hate Waste Campaign addresses a shocking issue: In New Zealand, we throw away more than 122,500 tonnes of food a year, enough to feed almost 263,000 people. New Zealanders spend $872 million a year on food that will be thrown away uneaten.
The food wastage figures are based on national research that included surveying 1365 people, examining the contents of nearly 1400 household rubbish bins and giving 100 families a diary to record their food consumption and disposal for a week.
In Taranaki, where 101 people were surveyed, 120 rubbish bins audited and 25 families given food diaries, campaign organisers found the average household spends $459 a year on food that is thrown away uneaten. That adds up to $19.9 million a year for the region as a whole.
The top 10 edible foods wasted in Taranaki are: Bread, apples, leftovers, bananas, oranges/mandarins, soups, pumpkin, potatoes, sausages and cauliflower.
The $20 million annual cost of avoidable food waste in Taranaki would pay for two and a half years of school lunches for all the region's school pupils.
The Love Food Hate Waste campaign is being run by local councils across the country. All four Taranaki Councils are involved through their joint Taranaki Solid Waste Management Committee.
Similar campaigns overseas have resulted in significant reductions in food sent to landfill – by 18% in the UK. Such a reduction in New Zealand would see 46,600 tonnes diverted from landfills annually. Watch these videos of Taranaki people supporting the Love Food Hate Waste cause: