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OzHarvest urges Aussies to halve food waste and “Use it Up”

3 min read
food waste

UN’s International Food Loss & Waste Day (29th September): Leading food rescue organisation, OzHarvest is launching Use it Up, a new campaign featuring product innovation designed to tackle the 2.5 million tonnes of food wasted from homes every year. Use It Up aims to make it easy for Aussies to waste less at home and is informed by unique consumer insights gathered from Australian first behavioural research, funded by the Australian Government and conducted by BehaviourWorks at the Monash Sustainable Development Institute.

OzHarvest Founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn AO said Australia’s national target to halve food waste by 2030 is looming fast and change is urgently needed. “We cannot watch what’s happening to our planet and wait for others to fix this – tackling household food waste is the low hanging fruit and where we can get results fast!  Not everyone can afford an electric car or solar panels but reducing the amount of food we waste is something we are all able to do. People are blown away when they learn the number one thing they can do to take climate action starts right now in their kitchen!”

“OzHarvest has been fighting food waste for 17 years, but to revolutionise behaviour at home, we teamed up with BehaviourWorks Australia to understand the most impactful way households can reduce their waste. The overwhelming answer was to Use It Up – a simple behaviour that can save food, save money and save the planet! To get the nation on board, we’ve developed the Use It Up tape, a world first product that makes it easy and fun to see what food needs using up in your fridge or pantry, which can then be transformed into your next meal!”

Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said: “The Morrison Government is committed to halving food waste to landfill by 2030. We all have a part to play in reducing food waste and Use it Up shows that small changes in the kitchen can deliver real savings and reduce the amount of food thrown in the bin and ending up in landfill.”

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction, Trevor Evans said reducing food waste has significant sustainability benefits. “No-one likes wasting food, but the reality is that most of us do and 70% of the food we waste is perfectly edible. The research shows the simple but effective act of using food up could save the average household enough for a holiday each year and the tape is a good visual reminder to help people get into good habits at home.”

Leading the research with BehaviourWorks Australia at Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Mark Boulet said this is the first time such innovative methods and in-depth insights have been used for household food waste behaviours. “The result of this exciting research draws on expert knowledge and community engagement to understand what really matters when it comes to making an impact with food waste at home. Use It Up has the biggest potential to shift the dial, with families immediately noticing how much food they saved. The tape is a great family communication and meal planning tool, and acts as a daily prompt to change behaviour.”

In addition to the Use It Up tape, the campaign provides a range of tools to help people get started at home, with recipes and tips on how to use up commonly wasted food featured on the OzHarvest website, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. A raft of influencers will be sharing their tips and use it up style from September 29th.

OzHarvest Chef Ambassadors Neil Perry AM and Colin Fassnidge are both advocates for the campaign, lending their support and favourite Use It Up recipes. “A jazzed up version of bubble and squeak is my go-to recipe as it’s something my Dad always used to cook and you can use up most of what you have in the fridge!” said Neil.

“As a chef, I hate the thought of any food going to waste, as a Dad I know the challenges of managing the household fridge! Spending so much time at home in lockdown means I am generally using up something every day. My Use It Up advice is you don’t always need a recipe, just experiment with your cooking – your family will tell you what works!” said Colin.

Self-declared Crap Housewife, Jessica Rowe says forgetting about food in the fridge was one her worst habits. “My fridge is usually a disaster zone, which meant I was always buying produce I already had.  I’m not proud of how much food I wasted from not knowing what was shoved at the back of the shelves. The Use It Up tape has helped me organise my fridge and now I’m wasting much less – if I can do it, anyone can!”

The Use It Up campaign has been created with pro-bono support from leading creative agency R/GA and follows an outdoor campaign raising awareness about the impact of food waste on climate change with donated media space from JCDecaux, Hoyts, Lendlease and SBS.  Use It Up tape and more information can be found at ozharvest.org/useitup.


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