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Food Lover Tip Panel

Food lover tip

Dry out old herbs in the oven to make your own dried herbs. C. Marin, Corrimal



"Checking the fridge and cupboard before I write my shopping list ensures I only buy what I need."


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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


In NSW, we throw away $2.5 billion worth of edible food a year.
Sad, isn't it?

Love Food Hate Waste will help you waste less food, save money and our environment.

Here are some of the answers to our most frequently asked questions.

FAQ module

The Love Food Hate Waste program aims to raise awareness about the environmental, economic and social impacts of food waste in NSW and reduce the amount of ‘good’ food being sent to landfill. By promoting easy and practical solutions for buying, cooking and saving food, Love Food Hate Waste will help you and your community avoid food waste in the home. It is about providing you with the information and tools to save time, money and reduce our impact on the environment.

The Love Food Hate Waste campaign is managed by the EPA partnering with corporate, government and not-for-profit organisations.

Our inaugural partners include:

If you would like to become a Love Food Hate Waste partner please contact us.

Website content has been compiled with the assistance of:

Food waste represents one of the most wasteful forms of consumption in Australia. Sad, isn’t it?

Research has shown food commonly gets wasted in our homes for the following reasons:

  • we cook more than we need
  • food goes off before the use-by / best-before date because of incorrect storage
  • food not used before its use-by or best-before date
  • food is not protected from pests
  • we forget about leftovers in the fridge / freezer
  • we don’t know how to use leftovers
  • we buy too much because we don’t stick to a shopping list
  • we don’t check the cupboard or fridge before going shopping
  • we’re not planning our meals and menus as much as we could.

Other common reasons for food wastage include a change of plans with family members, not following the recipe correctly, and buying last minute takeaways.

The Love Food Hate Waste program aims to raise awareness about the environmental impact of food waste by focusing on providing you with simple and easy ways to help you reduce food waste at home.

Food has labels such as ‘use-by’ and ‘best-before’ dates to tell us about the shelf-life of the product. These date labels inform us about how long food can be kept before it becomes unsafe to eat or loses its quality. Each type of date has an important but different meaning.

‘Use-by’ labels indicate the date which the food must be eaten by. After this date food may be unsafe to eat even if it looks fine. The food may have developed bacteria and be considered no longer fit for consumption. After a ‘use-by’ date, food should not be eaten by anyone.

‘Best-before’ labels indicate when the food is at its optimum. Foods are still safe to eat after this date as long as they are not damaged, deteriorated or perished. You can expect these foods to retain their colour, taste, texture and flavour as long as they are stored correctly.

'Display until' / 'sell by' labels often appear near or next to the 'best-before' or 'use-by' date. They are used to help retailers with stock control and are designed for supermarket staff, not shoppers.

The vast majority of people already think throwing away good food is wasteful – hence the name of our program, Love Food Hate Waste. But there is more to it than this.

When we throw away food, we don't just throw away that particular food item. We are also throwing away the water, energy and raw materials that were needed to grow, process and transport that food. It all goes to waste when we throw away perfectly good food.

When biodegradable waste, like food (and other organic materials such as garden organics, paper and cardboard) goes to landfill it breaks down and produces methane – a greenhouse gas 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

Whilst some of the larger landfill sites capture some of the methane and stop it going into the atmosphere (e.g. by flaring or turning it into ‘green' electricity) landfills still contribute about two per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions.

Food waste is also an economic problem, particularly for householders. No one likes to waste money and we would not ever throw cash in the bin, but this is exactly what we do when we throw away food. Through buying, cooking and saving food better you will be able to save money in your weekly food budget without compromising on food safety. The average NSW household throws away more than $1000 per year of edible food. This adds to a total of $2.5 billion for the state of NSW.

Wasting food also has a social impact. The commercial sector, including restaurants and food manufacturers, wastes significant amounts of food that could be given to charities like Second Bite, Oz Harvest, Fare Share and Food Bank which support those who cannot afford regular meals. Some of these organisations recover up to 400 tonnes of 'good' food that would have ordinarily gone to landfill.

The Love Food Hate Waste program will actively engage supermarkets, grocery retailers and food manufacturers to reduce food waste in their operations.

Supermarkets, grocery retailers and food manufacturers have an important role to play in providing information to their customers and staff, identifying improved options for the products sold such as portion sizes and resealable packaging and improved options for the way food is sold such as ‘Two for One’ and ‘Buy one get one free’ deals.

To see what our partners are doing to reduce food waste in their operations please visit the Food Lovers.

When we talk about food waste we talk about it in terms of being ‘avoidable’ and ‘unavoidable’.

Avoidable food waste is the waste we produce because we have cooked more than we need, bought too much or forgotten about the leftovers at the back of the fridge. It is estimated that 60 per cent of the food thrown away could have been avoided through better planning and management.

Unavoidable food waste is food waste that cannot usually be eaten – food items like pineapple skins, meat bones, teabags and vegetable peelings. There will always be some form of unavoidable food waste at the household level but we encourage you to compost it rather than putting it in the bin. If we better manage the food we buy we can have a significant impact on the amount of food we waste.

The Love Food Hate Waste program has been designed to help individuals and families avoid food waste.

In NSW, more than one third of the average household garbage bin is filled with wasted food. Together, householders in NSW are throwing away more than 800,000 tonnes of food every year. This is more than double the amount that is wasted from the commercial sector. This is why the program is starting at the household level.

If all individuals and families in NSW implement some of the Love Food Hate Waste buying, cooking and food saving tips, we will see a huge reduction in how much food goes to landfill, and you will also see the savings in your household budget.

Understanding about the problem of food waste is growing. If you have not found what you need on the Love Food Hate Waste website please Contact us.

The menu planner and shopping list template is a PDF document.

To open the document, click on the image/icon and the document will open in your browser. To save this document to your computer, go to the top navigational menu and select ‘File’ followed by ‘Save As’. You will then be asked where you would like to save the document on your computer system.


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