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Australians waste $8bn of food yearly

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Throwing out edible food not only wastes money, but is bad for the environment.

Throwing out edible food not only wastes money, but is bad for the environment. Photo: Sasha Woolley

Australians have forgotten the art of turning leftovers into meals and we now throw out $8 billion of edible food each year, an advocacy group says.

Figures released by Do Something! founder John Dee show the average household bins $1036 of food yearly, about four million tonnes in total across the country.

This is enough to feed the average household for a month, and the wasted money could cover six months of electricity bills, Mr Dee says.

In NSW, food waste constitutes up to 38 per cent of the rubbish in household bins.

Mr Dee is concerned many Australians will overstock their pantries and fridges leading into Christmas, saying overzealous shopping will cause unnecessary economic and environment impacts.

"Australians will waste hundreds of millions of dollars that is needlessly being spent on food," Mr Dee said.

"Large quantities will end up in landfill where it will give off methane that is 25 times more potent than the carbon pollution that comes out of your car."

The $8 billion figure increased $200 million from last year, and Mr Dee said the rise in food waste can be attributed to the loss of skills mastered by older generations.

"Those skills are making the most of the food that we buy," he said.

"My grandmother ... could use a leftover meal and turn it into a brand new meal that was so different you didn't recognise the original meal."

Throwing out edible food not only wastes the food itself, but has a wider impact that is not often considered, Mr Dee says.

"If you throw out a kilogram of beef, you're also throwing away the thousands of litres of water that it took to produce that beef."

AAP

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