Estimating informal household food waste in developed countries: The case of Australia

Uploaded by: Christian Reynolds
Uploaded on: 24th August 2017
Author(s): Christian J Reynolds, Vicki Mavrakis, Sandra Davison, Stine B Høj, Elisha Vlaholias, Anne Sharp, Kirrilly Thompson, Paul Ward, John Coveney, Julia Piantadosi, John Boland and Drew Dawson

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Food waste is a global problem. In Australia alone, it is estimated that households throw away AU$5.2 billion worth of food (AU$616 per household) each year. Developed countries have formal waste management systems that provide measures of food waste. However, much remains unknown about informal food waste disposal routes and volumes outside of the formal system.

This article provides indicative metrics of informal food waste by identifying, in detail, five of the dominant informal food waste disposal routes used by Australian households: home composting, feeding scraps to pets, sewer disposal, giving to charity, and dumping or incineration.

Our examination of the full extent of food waste by disposal mode provides waste managers and policy makers with clear disposal routes to target for behaviour change and positive environmental outcomes

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