Five ways to reduce food wastage

Posted by Marnie Nitschke on

Dietitian and avid cook, Marnie Nitschke shares her tips for fighting food wastage.


Every year in Australia, we waste around 7.6 million tonnes of food (the equivalent of one in five bags of groceries going into the bin).  Food wastage in production, processing and in the home is estimated to account for 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions!

The good news: there’s lots that we can do as families and individuals to reduce food waste.  Here’s 5 ways you can start wasting less food.

  1. Get meal planning.

Put aside 30 minutes each week to do a stocktake, look at recipes, plan your shop, and plan some meals, and don’t forget to factor in lunch boxes!  Plan at least one ‘bits and pieces’ meal each week to use up leftovers.

  1. Understand what food you already have, and when it needs to be used.

Getting into the habit of conducting a weekly fridge and pantry audit is super helpful here. 

  • Check dates and condition of food.
  • Bring older food to the front and make a list of what needs to be used.
  • Plan meals that use these foods (or freeze them for later use).
  1. Can you repurpose food to save it from the bin? 
  • Wilted herbs can become pesto, limp spinach can be sautéed for a tasty breakfast side, added to s
  • Turn stale bread into breadcrumbs (freeze for future use) or croutons.
  • Rather than tossing over-ripe fruit, stew it, dehydrate it or freeze it for future smoothies and baking.
  1. Use the whole food (or as much of it as is possible)
  • Use broccoli stems (grate into salads, air fry as chips)
  • Save the rind of your parmesan cheese to add extra flavour to pasta sauce while it’s cooking.
  • Wash/scrub root veggies rather than peeling them, and save scraps and bones to make your own stock.
  1. Learn about the best storage conditions for different foods
  • High humidity  / minimal ventilation bins will keep most produce fresher longer  – particularly spinach, Asian greens and herbs. 
  • Low humidity storage / maximal air flow

Best for produce that tends to rot (e.g. stone fruit, berries, figs, melon, and mango).

Despite what we might think, not all fruit and veggies keep better in the fridge. 

To retain maximal flavour, texture and prevent chilling injury, store these guys out of the fridge:

  • Cucumber, eggplant, zucchini, peppers
  • Onion, shallot, garlic and potatoes

Some fruit and veggies are best separated.

  • Store avocados and bananas away from other produce (not in the fruit bowl).
  • Potatoes are best stored in a cool dark place like the pantry, and are best kept away from garlic and onion.

Want more information regarding best storage of various foods?  Check out Ozharvest’s super helpful A-Z of food saving tips.


Bio: Marnie is an experienced Accredited Practising Dietitian who specializes in gastrointestinal nutrition and supporting people to have an easier relationship with food.  Find out more at and follow her on Instagram @forkthatnutrition

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