In NSW, food waste from both business and households is most commonly sent to landfill for disposal. The problem with food waste going to landfill is that when organic waste (including food waste) breaks down it results in the production of methane – a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
National greenhouse inventory data suggests that landfill contributes two per cent (or ~11MT CO2-e/annum, after gas capture) of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions. For every tonne of food waste not sent to landfill, 0.9 tonnes of CO2-e is saved. That's a saving of almost one for one.
Our food supply chain is responsible for approximately 23 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions – second only to coal fired power stations. This includes direct emissions from agriculture (16 per cent of total national emissions), as well as the emissions attributed to energy, transport, food production, processing and distribution.
In addition, natural resources are used to produce, harvest, transport, process, package, and distribute food products. Water, in particular, is used in vast amounts to grow fruit, vegetables, cereals and grains and to support livestock.
When food is wasted, the energy and resources that go into producing that food are also wasted. That's why simply reducing the food waste generated by your business can have such a positive environmental impact.