What's the problem with food waste?
The average NSW household throws away $3,800 of edible food each year. Wasting food costs you money, and is also a waste of the energy, natural resources and water that was used to grow, package and transport the food.
In Newcastle, around 30% of the waste (by weight) in our red lid bins every week is food waste. We throw away an average of 2.6kg per household per week. That's over 135kg per household each year. Across the Newcastle Council area, we throw away 182 tonnes of food each year, just from our homes.
In landfill, food waste and other organic materials decompose and create methane, which is a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. We capture this methane and use it to generate electricity, which we then feed back into the electricity grid as a source of renewable green energy. Even though this prevents the methane from escaping into the atmosphere, it is better to avoid creating food waste in the first place.
What can I do instead?
Avoid creating food waste
The best thing to do, for your budget and the environment, is to avoid creating food waste in the first place. Meal planning and using a shopping list are two very simple ways to do this. The NSW Government's Love Food, Hate Waste
website has lots of ideas, hints and tips to help you.
Composting and worm farming your left overs
Recycle the food waste you can't avoid by using a compost bin or worm farm. These are natural forms of recycling that turn your food waste into organic material that can be used to improve the quality of the soil in your garden. The NSW Government has very simple guides on how to compost
and worm farm
Why can't I put my food waste in the green lid bin?
Your green lid bin is only for collecting garden waste. Once collected, the material is brought to Summerhill Waste Management Centre where it is stock piled onsite and then shredded before being transported to a composting facility. This system is not designed to manage food waste and if food waste is placed in your green lidded greenwaste bin, it can contaminate not only the truck load but also the environment where it is stockpiled.
What is Newcastle Council doing about food waste?
At this time, food waste is disposed of in your household red lid garbage bin. Newcastle Council is intending to build an organics processing facility at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre in the next three years. Once the facility is fully operational, Council will look to introducing a food waste collection service. How this service will be introduced and what it will entail will be developed over the coming years, based on best practice and the type of organics processing facility that is constructed.