How can we reduce food waste from households and businesses and divert this material from landfill?

Help us develop the next food waste strategy to help reduce and divert household and business food waste.

Read the Valuing our Food Waste: South Australia’s strategy to reduce and divert household and business food waste and have your say on our proposed actions to reduce food waste by commenting below.

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Barbara Bansemer

03 Jul 2020

We have a large garden and compost bin, so all the vegie peelings go in there. Ditto fish bones. Items that won't decompose including chicken bones and eggshells go into the green bin, but I do wonder whether they will successfully be turned into compost. We have 3 green bins, very necessary when doing a major prune, and kind-hearted neighbours allow us to put one of our bins outside their home if they are not putting their own out.
In town, the Central Market and Rundle Mall, it goes against the grain to put things like banana peel or apple cores into a landfill bin. But then if you peer into the compostable bins at Womad or the Fringe you see that they contain plastic bags and other general rubbish. Some people just can't be trained, so green bins around the city would probably be a waste of effort.
It is heartening to read that soft plastics put into the Coles and Woollies bins actually do get turned into useful products. After watching War on Waste my husband is convinced all those plastic bags I assiduously collect only end up in landfill. Publicity about the end products would be a good idea, to convince the cynics.

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Ross Harper

03 Jul 2020

There needs to be distinction between the 'value' of the green-waste that is collected. Food-waste has high recycle value due to the high amounts of elements and compounds it contains. Lawn cuttings are of medium value, while prunings fall into a low value. This valuing needs to be considered with regards to collection and handling processes. There is limited community return for recycling food-waste which is then mixed with shredded prunings, only for this to be distributed on parklands etc. This is both a waste of what could be used for fertiliser and potentially detrimental to both native flora, as well as the impact of runoff.
A collection process for lawn cuttings has the potential to provide supplemental feedstock for businesses making pellets as stockfeed. This is a way that city dwellers can do their bit for the farming community.

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Rachel Hutchinson

03 Jul 2020

I think tax payers are over the false facade surveys like this bring. It’s only going through the motions to placate us as not much ever really gets dealt with properly once and for all. How much does all this placating cost the tax payers and still problems aren’t corrected. Always driven by the almighty dollar. Our system is a joke and was not the intention of our forefathers to be run so haphazardly and even out or original jurisdictions. Something will give one day. Citizens are crying out all over the world for fairer, equitable and efficient deals from their corrupt self centred Governments. There are more of us than them!!

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Rachel Hutchinson

03 Jul 2020

Japan have a great system that totally eliminated food waste into their dumps. It’s a user pays system and so it should be. People weigh their food waste in street bins and are charged accordingly. This affects people’s buying which should effect the packaging waste produced. Having said all that! IT’S INDUSTRY CAUSING THE REAL PROBLEMS. As it hogs water from farmers and produces copies amounts of waste into our environment. Additionally, Australia produces poor grade recycled material. This is a massive business opportunity that WILL create jobs we so desperately need. It’s such a no brainer!! As the waste is second grade, all the little mans efforts are in vein. I know of places where ALL the rubbish ends up in the dump despite our efforts. That just really poor form and futile.

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Patrick Lally

03 Jul 2020

What about providing ratepayers with a small discount as a reward for our continued efforts as individuals to divert waste from landfill? I think people would appreciate the recognition of our great work at upping our recycling rates and diverting food waste from landfills. The draft strategy mentions all the savings from diverting food waste from landfill but it's hard as an individual to actually see those benefits.

Government Agency

Green Industries SA > Patrick Lally

03 Jul 2020

Thanks Patrick. How waste and recycling costs are applied to rates and managed within budgets is a consideration for Local Government. It is appreciated that, unlike water or energy consumption, household waste and recycling costs are not allocated to individual premises so it is more challenging to receive direct feedback on individual action to reduce waste sent to landfill.

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Tracey Siviour

03 Jul 2020

With regards to the fruit and vegetables would it be possible to have the green bins at the food outlets go directly to the Chicken and Pig Farms if not already being done. Our eggs, poultry and pork products would benefit from the waste. Could we get in touch with the farmers who have livestock to ask them to consider taking the 'food scraps'. I try to give mine to a local lady who has a handful of chickens and she appreciates it and I get rewarded by a better quality egg. This might mean taking on an extra employee to open the plastic the food comes in to separate into a 'Scraps Bin" and that cann't be a bad thing giving out extra jobs.

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Green Industries SA > Tracey Siviour

03 Jul 2020

Hi Tracey, thanks for these thoughts and suggestions. Some food manufacturers and retailers have established a direct relationship with farmers for the purposes of providing suitable excess or damaged food for animal feed. Where these arrangements are in place, there is a need to monitor what material is diverted to ensure it is compliant with the Livestock Act 1997 and does not present any biosecurity risks. It is fantastic that you have found a local solution for your fruit and vegetable peelings and food scraps and get a return benefit!

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Jasper Lee

03 Jul 2020

Provide financial subsidies to purchase home composting or worm farms: allow households to reuse organic matter at home for free and reducing carbon emissions in the pickup and logistics of moving green waste

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Green Industries SA > Jasper Lee

03 Jul 2020

Hi Jasper, thank you for your interest and comment. Depending on your Council area, rebates for a home compost bin or worm farm may be available or home composting workshops offered. Contact your local Council to enquire if this is available in your area.

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Leticia Albrecht

02 Jul 2020

Provide education on the differences between compostable, biodegradable and degradable materials to avoid plastic in food waste. In fact, it would be great to see degradable and biodegradable products eliminated off of our shelves! It truly confuses consumers about what is okay to use with the green-washing advertising. I recently had an experience where the person I was talking to was absolutely convinced that biodegradable cling-wrap was better for the environment, and so there stopped their efforts.
Provide education, and green bins in all council areas (I am referring to experience in some sections of the Adelaide Hills, but after looking at the provided map, I can see that it is more a wide spread issue than that).
Provide recipe cards which address some common food waste items, and how they can be turned into food. i.e., roasting potato peel with olive oil and salt at a high heat for easy potato chip entree; leftover porridge cake/muffins (from young children not being able to finish their bowls); etc.
Provide weed identification information (for areas that are known to be poison free of course), for further food creation with edible weed types.

Leticia Albrecht > Leticia Albrecht

02 Jul 2020

Can there also be a push on the Adelaide City Council (and other councils to follow suit), to put at least one or two green waste bins in high pedestrian areas, where us pedestrians only have access to red or yellow bins. It won't be everyone, but as a start, for people such as myself, who are committed enough to be working towards zero waste at home, we will gladly walk down the mall (for instance) with an apple core, so that it can go in the right bin. at the moment, I avoid eating fresh fruit in the city, unless I have thought ahead and brought a container so I can take my waste home with me again. It's very disheartening.

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Timothy Braund

30 Jun 2020

Have additional locations to dispose of Soft Plastics. Far too much plastic packaging on food.

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Green Industries SA > Timothy Braund

30 Jun 2020

Thanks Timothy for your feedback and comment.

While some level of packaging is often required to protect food during transport and retail to retain freshness and prevent it from being spoiled in the process (and subsequently wasted), there are certainly many examples of excessive or unnecessary packaging which can be reduced.

In addition to providing feedback to brand owners in these cases, soft plastics collector REDcycle partners with major supermarkets and brand owners to provide soft plastic packaging recycling collection points. Expanding the scope of available collection points depends on many factors, however it's certainly something to pursue as we encourage more people to divert and recycle their soft plastics and seek to make the process as convenient as possible.

Although 'reduce' is the preferable option, where soft plastics are generated and dropped off at a REDcycle collection point, they are processed and go to several manufacturers in Victoria (including Replas and Close the Loop), who convert the material into a range of recycled products including indoor and outdoor furniture, bollards, and signage, recycled asphalt additive for road infrastructure and other consumer products.

Leticia Albrecht > Timothy Braund

02 Jul 2020

Building on what Timothy said, perhaps there should be tighter regulation on this issue, encouraging supermarkets to provide compostable bags and more widely used paper bags at the fresh food section, to use compostable packaging, and to ditch any styrofoam packaging methods. Perhaps as well, to have signs with products such as bananas, stating that no packaging is preferable (empowering the consumer to the final choice).
Also, whilst on the topic of big supermarkets: encouraging more imperfect fresh produce (and making sure they don't cost as much), and encouraging them to be transparent with consumers about how they dispose of products. I shudder to think about the potentially secret locations that are stacked with fully packaged food waste.
Monetary punishments may not work for big supermarkets, and alternative ideas to coax change may need to be thought of.

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Wendy Goss

27 Jun 2020

Have the option to have the Green waste bin picked up every week instead of fortnightly especially at pruning time/Winter.

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Green Industries SA > Wendy Goss

29 Jun 2020

Thank you for your feedback and interest in increased green bin collections, Wendy. Green Industries SA has part funded a 12 month pilot of weekly organics bin collections for 750 households in West Torrens Council and assessments will be undertaken to measure changes in disposal of food and organics under a more frequent collection. Holdfast Bay Council are also implementing a similar trial. This will help determine how more frequent organic bin collections may best be offered to residents.

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