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Do I really waste food?

Have you ever...

  • put leftovers in the fridge only to rediscover them a week later with fuzz growing on them?
  • bought fresh fruit only to see its passed over until it's shrivelled and unappetizing?
  • made dinner for everyone only to find plans have changed and only half gets eaten?

These are the everyday stories of food waste that are happening in homes everywhere.

In fact, 36% of the average Victorian household rubbish bin is made up of wasted food. And two thirds of that was food waste that could have been avoided, such as stale bread or old leftovers. 

In total, 23% of our household rubbish is food waste that could have been eaten - but wasn't.

The results show that most people are probably throwing away more food than they realise. 


Unfortunately that all adds up to some pretty shocking numbers...

Each year in Victoria, households throw out 250,000 tonnes worth of food – enough wasted food to fill Melbourne's Eureka Tower.

New research shows the average Victorian household throws out $2,136 worth of food each year.*

Each year Victorian households throw out:



 Amount wasted in tonnes

Equivalent weight to...

Bread, pastry & biscuits  64,500   Six Eiffel Towers
Pre-prepared & home cooked meals 51,000  29,000 hippos
Dairy & eggs 35,000 175 blue whales
Fresh vegetables 31,500 5,800 elephants
Fresh fruit 22,500 10,000 small trucks
Raw meat &fish 13,500 750 buses
Rice, pasta &noodles 12,500 Fill 1,100 garbage trucks
Fresh salad leaves 6,500 2,800 rhinos
Cakes & desserts 5,000 24 whales
Canned & frozen vegetables 4,500 Fill 36,000 bathtubs
Condiments & sauces 4,500 50,000 fridges
Confectionary &snacks 3,000 900 family cars
Processed fruit 1,000 30 trams


Why do we throw away so much food?  

There are some common reasons why we waste food. Most food is thrown out because:

  • We forget about food we have in the fridge or freezer
  • We don't check the cupboard or fridge before going shopping
  • We're not planning our meals and menus as much as we could
  • We don’t get to use our food before the use-by or best before dates
  • We buy or cook more than we need
  • We don't know how to use leftovers

We're simply not using our food as wisely as we could be. And it costs households money and impacts the environment, including contributing to climate change.  

But there are steps everyone can take to reduce their household's food waste.


Next: Find out what food waste is costing you.


*More findings from the May 2018 Love Food Hate Waste Victoria survey available here

Love your food

Each year Victorian households throw out 31,500 tonnes of fresh vegetables.