NSW households send an average of 800,000 tonnes of food a year to landfill. When food waste breaks down in landfill it produces methane - a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide.
Use the resources, recipes, and tips on this website to cut down on your food waste, save money and make delicious nutritious meals.
Why is it important
Food waste is a major issue in Australia. The infographic below explains why we waste food and suggests ways to mitigate it.
Do Something About Food Waste infographic by lunchalot
What are we doing?
Campus Life is committed to continually improving healthy, socially responsible, and environmentally-friendly meal options to students at an affordable price. This means:
- Vegetarian options are available at all cafes
- Most of our produce and meat is sourced within New South Wales or Australia
- Majority of vegetables and herbs are grown locally or in NSW
- Menus reflect seasonal availability of produce
- Our kitchen maintains its own herb garden, with produce harvested used within the kitchen
- The Grill (Food Court) uses cholesterol free oil
- 100% compostable Biopak packaging used for some items
- Reusable water bottles and hot drink cups
- Fair Trade chocolate, tea and coffee
- $5 meal deals
- Vegetarian, gluten free and vegan options
- All used cooking oil collected and recycled by AUSCOL
We also work closely with a food cooperative, Harvest Hub, that actively supports local farmers. A recent collaborative initiative between Macquarie University, Campus Life, Harvest Hub and Salvation Army Ivanhoe Community, saw damaged strawberry stock turned into jam. By turning once-unsellable fruit into a sellable item, we were able to support the affected farmer in a time of need. Watch our Money for Jam video below for our overall impact:
What can you do?
To reduce waste, consider:
- Purchasing foods with minimal packaging
- Ensuring any packaging is recyclable or biodegradable
- Serving tap water instead of bottled water
- Compost organic waste or feed it to a worm farm
- Using fresh rather than frozen ingredients (frozen foods require a lot of energy to refrigerate)
- Using non-disposable plates, cups and utensils for serving
- Serving appropriate portion sizes
- Planning your meals and writing shopping lists
Eat local, seasonal fruits and vegetables
Generally, food that is transported over long distances produces more greenhouse gas emissions than food that is transported over short distances. A Victorian study found that a typical supermarket shopping basket contains food which has travelled 70 803 km (almost twice around the circumference of the globe), producing 11 327 tonnes of greenhouse gases. The sustainable choice is to buy food that has been locally produced, which will also help support local farmers. Visit the Australian Seasonal Food Guide to find out what is in season where you live.
Organic food averages 25% more nutritional value and contains about one-third more cancer-fighting antioxidants than non-organic foods. Eating organic also:
- reduces the amount of chemical runoff and residues in our water
- reduces the acidity levels of our topsoil
- promotes biodiversity
- tastes great
Support farmers' markets
By shopping at farmers' markets you are guaranteed access to seasonal, quality, freshly harvested produce whilst supporting local farmers and directly putting money back into regional communities. Find your local farmers' market.
Grown your own food
Gardens of all sizes (potted balcony or rooftop, urban garden bed, or hobby farm) will help you reconnect with food, get outside, and feel the earth in your hands. Experiment with the following to find what works best for you and your family and friends:
- using as few pesticides as possible
- use organic fertilisers
- animal manures and compost
- keep your own seeds or swap seeds with friends
- preserve your excess produce as jam, chutneys, or in the freezer
Eat less meat and dairy
Meat and dairy contribute substantially to our global greenhouse gas emissions and use significant amounts of water. Cutting down or eliminating these products from your diet will have a positive impact on our carbon footprint. Some ideas from the David Suzuki Foundation below:
- have a meat-free meal every day, or better yet, a meat-free day
- order vegetarian meals when dining out
- try non-dairy alternatives in your favourite dishes
- buy local, ethical and organic meat where possible
We also suggest you attend a vegetarian or vegan cooking class so you can increase your knowledge and experience in cooking without meat and dairy.