Friday, 01 April 2016 06:08

Western Sydney loves food, hates waste

Vegetables being prepared for cooking and kitchen scrap bin. Vegetables being prepared for cooking and kitchen scrap bin.

Western Sydney councils are set to help residents cook more, waste less and save money thanks to a Love Food Hate Waste grant secured by the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) this month.

The grant will be used to run a regional food waste education program called Shop. Cook. Save. that aims to educate residents about the benefits of shopping to a list and meal planning for cooking at home.

WSROC President Cllr Tony Hadchiti said the program was greatly needed.

“Western Sydney residents waste 142,000 tonnes of food every year, which is around a third of the waste put out for the kerbside garbage collection every week,” Cllr Tony Hadchiti.

“Food waste isn’t just bad for the environment, it costs Australian families an average of $1000 a year in unused groceries,” he said. 

“The Shop. Cook. Save. program aims to make families more mindful of how much food they buy, and how it is used, in order to reduce the amount of food thrown away at the end of the week,” he said.

As part of the program, former Masterchef contestant and owner of Hux Grill Penrith, Jay Huxley, will tour the region delivering free cooking demonstrations focusing on healthy, family meals that prevent waste and help save money.

“The program is part of WSROC’s goal, under the Western Sydney Regional Waste Strategy, to divert 70 per cent of household waste from landfill by 2021,” he said.

“It is estimated that around 60 per cent of household food waste is avoidable. There is a huge opportunity to reduce the amount of food waste we are sending to landfill but the change needs to be community driven,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

A secondary goal of the program is to teach participants skills that encourage them to cook at home more often.

“Western Sydney’s fast food culture has resulted in some of the highest rates of obesity in Australia. As a result it is a hotspot for preventable lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart disease,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“By providing residents with the tools they need to prepare more healthy, home cooked meals we hope to help residents save money, but also contribute to a healthier food culture in the region,” he said.

“We want to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, but also ensure Western Sydney residents have the tools they need to be happy, healthy, budget-conscious cooks,” he said.

Seven Western Sydney councils have elected to participate in the program including: Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, The Hills, Holroyd, Parramatta and Penrith.

This project is supported by the Environmental Trust as part of the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, funded from the waste levy.

Last modified on Friday, 01 April 2016 14:28