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Wasting food wastes water

You may be surprised just how much water is used in food production

How much water do you think it takes to make a loaf of bread? 1 litre? 10 litres? 100 litres?

Try 1,125 litres.

The next time you tuck into a cheeseburger, consider this.

It takes 5,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cheese, and a whopping 15,500 litres to grow 1 kg of beef. If you add in the sauce, gherkin, onion and the wrapper, it has taken about 2,400 litres of water to produce one cheeseburger.

Would you like fries with that? That’s another 23 litres.

Throw in a milkshake and that’s 510 litres of water that has gone into creating your 500ml shake.

Tally it up and that’s nearly 3000 litres of water used to create that one meal – or the same amount of water in three spa pools!

What if you bought your combo, then decided you didn’t want it? (Unlikely to happen, we know!) Those 3,000 litres of water have gone to waste.

While we rarely throw away fast food, the average Kiwi household is sending 80kgs of food to landfill every year.


Why should we worry about wasting water?

There is only a limited availably of freshwater in the world, so we need to be careful with how we use it. In New Zealand droughts are a growing problem for some parts of the country and climate change is putting an even greater strain on our water supplies.

In agriculture, which is one of the most water-intensive industries, water is vital at all stages of the process. The land needs water in order for the grass or crops to grow, and that water needs to be supplied through irrigation. Animals need water to drink and water is used in the transportation and processing of food.


What can we do?

We need to respect the food that we buy by not throwing it away.

The easiest way to do this is to store it properly. Freeze meat as soon as you buy it as it will last a lot longer in the freezer than the fridge.

Reducing the amount of meat that we eat will also help.

Top 10 freezer tips