There’s a special type of guilt you experience when you throw out past-ripe bananas or canned goods that are a few months out of date. You know it’s a waste and that there are plenty of hungry people out there who would love to eat your food. But you don’t know how to get it to them, so into the bin it goes.
It doesn’t seem like too big of a deal until you look at the bigger picture — for every five bags of groceries bought per average household, one goes to waste. That’s a whopping $8 billion of food waste each year! Not only is this basically throwing our hard-earned cash down the drain, it equates to 4,000,000 tonnes of food that ends up in landfills each year.When food rots with other organics in a landfill, it emits a greenhouse gas called methane — which is 25 times more potent than the carbon pollution that comes out of your car exhaust. Not only that, it’s a waste of all the resources needed to get your food into your trolley, your home and later, the landfill. Yep, it’s safe to say Australia has a serious waste problem!
On the other side of the token, one in 6 Australians experience food insecurity. That is, they don’t know how they’re going to afford their next meal. Australian food rescue charity OzHarvest has come up with an innovative solution to both of these problems — at least for Sydneysiders. This month, they opened the doors to OzHarvest Market, Australia’s first rescued food supermarket.
Located in the Eastern suburb of Kensington, the OzHarvest Market works on a ‘take what you need, give what you can’ model. Depending on what’s been donated that week, shoppers can find everything from fresh fruit and veggies, bread, tinned goods, frozen meals and toiletries on the shelves. It’s free for those who can’t afford it, or you can donate any amount you choose.
As for those in more fortunate situations, you’re encouraged to shop there too — as your donations will help to keep the marketplace running. You can also donate your unwanted canned goods too, so long as it’s edible, or donate your time as a volunteer at the supermarket. As for the fresh produce, OzHarvest rescues and accepts food donations from supermarkets and small businesses.
We rescue food that can’t be sold by supermarkets and food retailers due to it being past its use-by date, but which is still perfectly good to eat. We only take food that is absolutely edible. We’re showing our consumers how insane it is that this produce has been rejected.
-OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn via Broadsheet
While at this stage the supermarket is only a pop-up until a permanent space is found, we say it’s a step in the right direction when it comes to solving Australia’s food waste issue. If you’d like make a donation to help keep the OzHarvest Market up and running, click here.