Food waste is an environmental and economic challenge globally. Since the release of its first state-wide waste strategy in 2005, South Australia has implemented measures to prevent and divert food waste from landfill into productive use. Its initiatives have included:
- financial incentives
- an environment protection legislative framework
- education and awareness efforts.
South Australia’s investment to date in infrastructure and the systems to collect and process organic waste, including food waste, provides a valuable platform to take the next significant step. There are many opportunities for us to prevent the generation of and increase the recovery of food waste currently sent to landfill to make better use of this valuable resource, contributing to a circular economy within South Australia.
- lowers landfill costs to councils and businesses
- decreases methane emissions from landfill
- supports local industry and jobs
- increases the viability and regeneration of soils through the application of compost.
It is estimated that 200,000 tonnes of food waste is still sent to landfill each year from the business and household sectors - with the majority of this material collected from household kerbside collections. As such, addressing food waste is of the key focus areas in the draft South Australia’s Waste Strategy 2020-2025 currently out for consultation.
Food waste prevention and the redistribution of surplus food are key targets. However, there will always be a component of unused or discarded food that is not suitable for human or animal consumption. Effective collection and processing systems are critical to manage this material at its highest utility and value to recover and return nutrients to the soil and minimise losses throughout the food value chain.
About Green Industries SA
Green Industries SA is an enabler and driver of change, supporting the development of the circular economy through diverse collaborations which improve productivity, resilience, resource efficiency and the environment.
It aims to transform how South Australians use and value resources. Its objectives under the Green Industries SA Act 2004 are to:
- promote waste management practices that, as far as possible, eliminate waste or its consignment to landfill; and
- promote innovation and business activity in the waste management, resource recovery and green industry sectors, recognising these areas present valuable opportunities to contribute to the state’s economic growth.