Wednesday, May 22, 2024

$4.6m served up for food waste projects

Projects working to tackle food waste are set to receive a big boost from the Government.

“Every year, we waste enough food to feed more than the populations of Dunedin and Hamilton combined,” says Associate Environment Minister, Rachel Brooking.

“The 157,000 tonnes of food wasted every year in this country could feed 336,000 people for a year.

“This is obviously a huge waste of money and resources, especially when many people are finding it tough at the moment. 

“And it’s also bad for the environment – particularly the climate. Producing that food takes resources. Dumping it fills up our rubbish tips, and as it decomposes it produces methane, a powerful, climate-damaging greenhouse gas.

“We know we have to cut greenhouse gas emissions to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, and that’s why I’m pleased to announce support for projects tackling the waste food problem at its source,” Minister Brooking said.

Projects ranging from public education on how to cut waste at home, to reducing the amount of food being wasted in large retirement villages and rest homes, are getting money from the Government’s Climate Emergency Response Fund.

Collectively, the four projects will receive $4.6 million over three years from the Fund.

The organisations being funded are:

  • NZ Food Waste Champions 12.3 for a project called Kai Commitment, a voluntary national agreement in which major food businesses commit to reducing food waste. Businesses signed up so far are Countdown, Fonterra, Foodstuffs, Goodman Fielder, Nestle, Silver Fern Farms and Wilcox.
  • WasteMINZ for a project supported by 52 local body councils, to create multi-media campaigns encouraging householders to reduce the amount of food they waste. The project will draw on the successful Love Food Hate Waste campaign.
  • Para Kore Marae Incorporated’s project with more than 800 mainly Māori-led organisations, working towards zero food-waste.
  • A consortium of organisations including retirement village providers Arvida, Bupa and the Retirement Villages Association, led by the University of Otago, to measure and reduce the amount of food being wasted in commercial kitchens in the retirement sector.

Climate Minister. James Shaw said that in a climate emergency, it is essential New Zealanders do everything they can to reduce emissions.

“We must stop putting pollution into the atmosphere. It is great to see that this comes at virtually no cost to taxpayers, because it is being paid for by polluters, through the Government’s Cerf fund,” he said.

Minister Brooking said that getting on top of the food waste problem was not limited to just what goes in kitchen bins.

“We have to tackle the problem at every step of the way, from food production to food consumption.”

“The organisations getting support today will work with the Ministry for the Environment over the next three years to help build wider understanding of the scale of the problem, and aim to cut their food waste by 10%.

“That’s a significant contribution to tackling food waste, and I am looking forward to announcing further initiatives soon,” she said.

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