Charities bid to rescue 4m
tonnes of food from landfill
AUSTRALIAN businesses and households throw out four million tonnes of edible food each year that could help feed the hungry, a charity says.
The action group Do Something! has made it easy for businesses to end the waste in a campaign to be adopted nationwide over the next six months.
The “food donation toolkit”, developed by the group in partnership with the New South Wales Government, shows restaurants, cafes, food markets, farmers, manufacturers and retailers how to pass on unused food to charities.
“It’s win-win,” says NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker, who launched the how-to guide in Sydney today (Tuesday, May 22).
“This toolkit gives businesses ways to link up with charities who know all the pitfalls and make sure we get food to (those) who need it.”
Food close to its use-by date, incorrectly labelled products, imperfect-looking produce and over-catered items can be donated to national organisations such as OzHarvest, SecondBite and Foodbank.
“This isn’t bits of food scraped off plates – (charities) would never take that – it’s high-quality food,” says Do Something! founder John Dee.
“This is about getting food out of landfill and making sure it gets to hungry Australians.”
SecondBite executive director, Katy Barfield, says thousands of Australians struggle to buy fresh food.
“A grandmother wrote to say she goes to the butcher pretending she has a dog to buy dog scraps of meat, because she didn’t want to admit she couldn’t afford (proper cuts),” Ms Barfield has told Sydney media.
The Food Donations Act amendment was passed in Victoria in 2002, followed by NSW in 2005 and Tasmania in 2008.
It protects food donors from liability as long as the food is donated for a charitable purpose, providing it is safe to consume at the time of donation.
Mr Dee says it has taken some time for consumers and businesses to become aware of new rules permitting food donations.