Shire businesses take part in reducing food waste

Shire businesses will reduce food waste this June as part of a southern inland joint business initiative.

Businesses in seven council areas, including the Upper Lachlan Shire, can participate in a waste study with Regional Development Australia Southern Inland (RDASI) and the Southern Region Business Enterprise Centre (SRBEC). The four-month program will create a management plan to reduce food waste in hospitality businesses, supported to audit waste and where it is being produced.

Reduce: Shire businesses will reduce food waste by at least 20 per cent. Photo: Pixabay.

Reduce: Shire businesses will reduce food waste by at least 20 per cent. Photo: Pixabay.

Food businesses throw away about 30 per cent of food mainly from prep waste, spoilage and customers' plate waste, said RDASI project coordinator Camilla Staff.

"It can't be avoided; it can just be reduced. We have to be realistic about that, but the goal with businesses is to reduce their waste by 20 per cent," Ms Staff said. "It's fairly new, this program. They're being forced to consider sustainability for the environment and customers are looking at it closely ... if you go to a cafe and see plastic straws or cups ... you have to look at impacts [that] business is making on the environment."

In Crookwell, program participant Cafe Zestt has already shifted towards a greener kitchen. "The main reason [to join the program] is to reduce our food waste and not just from an economical point of view," owner Catherine Duff said. "I watched the War on Waste, the ABC program, and was horrified. It resonated with the people," she said. For Ms Duff, if everyone did a little bit, it would go a long way "We can't rely on government. If every household did a little bit its something."

Cafe Zestt limits their waste which ends up in landfill by supplying a local chicken producer with feed. Ms Duff has been asked to use produce at the Crookwell Community Gardens: "It's no more time consuming to pick a vegetable than it is to go to the supermarket."

For businesses thinking about ways to reduce their waste, a webinar will be held on June 17, 5-6pm.

To take part in the webinar visit: rdasi.org.au/projects/yourbusinessisfood/.