Food waste in New Zealand

Food waste is a major problem in New Zealand. 
New Zealand homes throw away 122,547 tonnes of food per year, all of which could have been eaten.

It can be hard to imagine just how much food 122,547 tonnes is. An easier way to think of it is to think of every house in New Zealand throwing away three full shopping trolleys of food every year!


Every time you throw away food you are throwing away money. The average New Zealand family is wasting about $563 a year on food they buy and then throw away. Not only is food waste a waste of money, it is also very damaging to the environment. When we waste food we are also wasting all of the resources like fuel, time and water that went into making the food.

What happens when I throw away food?

When you throw your food into a rubbish bin it will end up in a rubbish dump (landfill) along with all of the rest of our rubbish. The food gets buried with all of the other rubbish. Over time it will decompose, but because it is buried it will decompose without oxygen. This causes it to release methane which is a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and climate change.

How can I waste less food?

Eat all of your food!

Do you sometimes leave food in your lunchbox?

Do you eat the crusts of your sandwich?

Do you ever take a just a few bites of a piece of fruit and then throw the rest away?
Have you ever not eaten your dinner because you didn’t like it?


Next time you are about to throw some food away, try to make an effort to eat it (or offer it to a friend) so that you are not contributing to New Zealand’s food waste problem.

What is eating root to tip?


Root to tip eating is about cooking and eating all (edible) parts of fruit and vegetables so that nothing goes to waste.

Lots of parts of fruit and vegetables end up in rubbish bins or compost because people don’t know that they can be eaten or how to cook them.


Here are some things that you may not know that you can eat:

apple cores, banana peels, beetroot leaves, broccoli stalk and leaves, cauliflower stalk and leaves, celery leaves, citrus peels, dark green part of the leek, pumpkin seeds and skin and silverbeet stalks

Here are some recipes to use for inspiration when creating your original Root to Tip recipes.

Should you peel vegetables?


Most vegetables don’t need to be peeled. Peeling vegetables (and many fruits) is a waste of food, time, money, fibre and nutrients. In fact, peeling vegetables contributes a huge amount of unnecessary waste to our landfills and compost bins every year.


Every year in New Zealand we throw away 13,658 tonnes of vegetables peelings and 986 tonnes of fruit peelings every year. Most of this is waste that could be avoided because you don’t need to peel most of your produce. Instead just wash your fruit and vegetables before eating them to remove any dirt.

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© 2018 Garden to Table.

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