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A quick introduction to food waste recycling

REMONDIS Integrated and Managed Services // 5 October 2021


Australia is the largest generator of food waste per capita in the world, costing $20 billion annually


20% of food ends up as waste


The best options for unused organics are re-use and resource recovery, before disposal is considered


What is food waste?

Food waste is edible food that was not consumed for one reason or another. It includes unpackaged fruit, vegetables, bread, grains, pasta, dairy, egg shells, coffee grinds, meat, seafood (not hard shells) and bones.

Australia generates approximately 7 million tonnes of food waste per year – roughly 300 kilograms per person, per year.Food production, farming and food waste all have significant impacts on the environment. The agricultural industry is a heavy user of energy, water and fuel, with even more environmental impact arising from getting it to the consumer’s table.

Furthermore, when organic matter is deposited in landfill, it decomposes, releasing greenhouse gases, predominantly methane, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Food waste collection and recycling

In recent years organic food waste collection and recycling services are becoming more widely available, particularly in metropolitan areas. Diverting food waste for consumption or recovery will help to reduce waste sent to landfill, improve environmental outcomes, and potentially lead to a reduced waste spend.

Depending on the type of food waste you produce, there are several recycling pathways available.

Food waste that is still suitable for human consumption can be diverted to charitable organisations such as Oz Harvest (link to and Foodbank (link to Food waste not suitable for human consumption may be diverted to stockfeed, compost and anaerobic digestion.

Depending on the volume or organic waste generated, there may be opportunities to recycle food waste at your own site through self-contained food composting or pulping machines that convert food waste into a liquid pulp. The food waste you can recycle at your site depends on the available food waste recycling services in your area.

Most metropolitan areas and some regional centres now have access to food waste recycling bins that can recover these foods:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Bread
  • Grains
  • Rice
  • Paste
  • Dairy
  • Egg Shells
  • Coffee grinds
  • Cooked and uncooked meats
  • Seafood (no hard shells)
  • Bones

Avoiding contamination

It's important not to put plastic bin liners in food waste bins as they lead to contamination issues. Some metropolitan areas now have access to food recycling bins that can accept packaged food waste that is then put through a machine that can remove the packaging – but this remains rare.

REMONDIS will be able to advise what type of food waste recycling services are available in your area, if these facilities can accept compostable bin liners, and what type of food wastes can be placed in your bin.

Food waste: best practice for customers

  • Investigate the amount and type of organic waste disposed of at your site to determine if a dedicated food waste recycling services is warranted
  • Consider on site alternatives to disposing of food waste
  • Keep contamination out of your food waste recycling bins

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