Sustainable living

Cutting food waste key to reducing our carbon footprint

To mark the United Nations Food Waste Awareness Day, we’re shining the light on how we’re working with residents and businesses to divert scraps from landfill.

Butter end food waste

Food waste typically makes up more than a third of the rubbish we put in the red bin. It not only takes up valuable landfill space but releases methane gas as it decomposes.

That methane is responsible for around 4% of the greenhouse gases released in the City of Sydney area.

We’ve committed to hit net zero by 2035 as overwhelming climate research tells us emissions need to plummet now. Every scrap of carbon counts.

That’s why we’re running a food scraps collection and recycling trial, available to more than 14,000 households, as well as helping to educate and support businesses committed to reducing their organic waste.

The food scraps recycling trial helps divert waste from landfill
The food scraps recycling trial helps divert waste from landfill

With funding support from the NSW Government, the opt-in food scraps recycling trial is available to around 10% of the city’s households and diverts more than 11 tonnes of food waste away from landfill each week.

The food scraps are sent to a composting facility, where they’re converted to compost for use on farms and gardens.

Applications are open for apartment buildings to join the trial.

Once the results are reviewed, Council will consider how the foods scraps collection service can be increased across the local area in 2022.

We’ve also been helping small businesses save money and reduce waste through the Love Food Sydney program.

The program advises businesses from hotel chains to niche restaurants, on small changes they can make to substantially cut food waste, in some cases by up to 40%.

Before the Covid-19 lockdown, Butter restaurant in Surry Hills introduced 3 key actions after participating in the program.

The restaurant started to use a revised, concise menu, prepared food daily to avoid spoiling and made staff meals with food approaching its use by date.

The Love Food Sydney program helped the Butter restaurant save money and reduce waste
The Love Food Sydney program helped the Butter restaurant save money and reduce waste

Those changes helped Butter drastically reduce waste, saving emissions and money.

“It’s easy to do nothing about your waste, but we all have to start making a change. We have a responsibility, a big voice, and the ability to make an impact. Plus, a waste of food is essentially a waste of money. We don’t want that,” Butter owners Julian and Manoli said.

The restaurant estimates the changes it made, including an organics waste service, resulted in around 85% of its waste being diverted away from landfill, compared to 17% before the service was introduced.

The food scraps recycling trial is funded by the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s Waste Less, Recycle More program funded from the waste levy.

Published 28 September 2021, updated 29 September 2021