Are you throwing away more food than you think you are?

Are you throwing away more food than you think you are?

If we asked you how much food you wasted every week, would you be able to answer us?

Most New Zealand families have no idea how much food they are throwing away, and when they are asked to guess, they greatly underestimate it.

Food waste can be hard to keep track of. Every time we throw a floury apple, half-eaten sandwich or last night’s leftovers into the bin, they disappear in among our other rubbish and we forget about them.

Our research shows that 81% of Kiwis believe that they throw away little or very little food.

Yet our bin audit research shows that Kiwi households throw away 157,398 tonnes of food every year – and that doesn’t include things like banana peels or egg shells that can’t be eaten. That is the equivalent of 213 jumbo jets!

It turns out we are all throwing away more food than we think.

The average amount of food being thrown away each week by Kiwi households is 1.82kg, which looks like this:

Average household

By our reckoning, that’s enough for at least three school lunches!

Some households though are wasting a whopping four kilograms of food (or more) every week. That equates to 208.52kg of food from one household ever year! Four kilograms of food waste looks like this:

High household

Yep, that’s enough food to feed your whole family for a day!

On the other end of the scale, there are other households who have much smaller amounts of wastage, averaging only 270g of food waste every week. Well done to them.

Low household

Still enough to take for lunch!

When we did this study, only 5% of households had no avoidable food waste – which meant they were only throwing away foods like chicken bones and egg shells that couldn’t be eaten.

Where does your family fit?

Take our quiz to find out where you fit on the spectrum.

When you throw away food you are wasting the money you spent on it and all of the resources that went into making, packaging and transporting the food. In addition to that, when we send food to landfill we are contributing to climate change.

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