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Our food waste problem

Did you know that New Zealanders waste over $870 million of edible food every year? It equates to around $560 per family. 

Food waste is a big problem. A lot of our household food waste is going to landfill. When organic material is buried in landfill it breaks down in a way that generates methane, a greenhouse gas.  

Try to reduce the amount of avoidable food waste that you throw out. Check out Love Food Haste Waste for ideas about ways to reuse leftovers instead of throwing them out.

Bliss balls with a twist

In New Zealand, we waste a lot of bread each year – 15,174 tonnes according to Love Food Hate Waste. Thankfully, they’ve come up with an easy recipe to help you turn leftover bread into a thoughtful festive gift.

Bread bliss balls 3 ways

Easy Choice Family Kai cookbooks

Love Food Hate Waste NZ has launched a series of cookbooks designed for families of four or more people. Each book provides weekly meal plans, shopping lists, and new recipes each week. The recipes are based on what seasonal produce is available in your local supermarket. 

Download your free copy.

Easy choice autumn cookbook (4mb pdf) Easy choice winter cookbook (4mb pdf)
Easy choice spring cookbook (4mb pdf) Easy choice summer cookbook (4mb pdf)

Top tips to reduce waste in the home

Prevent food from going off by storing food correctly:

  • Bread in the freezer
  • Potatoes in a dark place
  • Vegetables in a sealed container lined with a paper towel
  • Store leftovers in a clear container so people can see what’s inside
  • Make an ‘eat me first’ section in your fridge and cupboard

Use older foods and eat leftovers:

  • Peel, cut and freeze ripe fruit and use them in smoothies e.g. bananas
  • Stew older fruits or use them in crumbles or sauces e.g. apples
  • Turn stale bread or bread crusts into croutons, breadcrumbs or toast
  • Take your leftovers for lunch, which will save you time and money

Before you go grocery shopping:

  • Check your cupboards and plan to use leftover ingredients in new meals
  • Plan your meals for the week and make a shopping list

Before you put your groceries away:

  • Organise your fridge and cupboards to ensure older foods are visible
  • Separate food into portions before putting into the freezer

Before and after cooking your meal:

  • Be conscious of correct portion sizes
  • Use leftover ingredients in new meals or take for lunch the next day e.g. leftover meat on pizzas
  • Freeze excess food e.g. pasta, bread and bananas

Top tips to reduce waste in the first place

  • Buy in bulk to avoid excess packaging.
  • Buy products with a recycled component or in recyclable packaging 
  • Use a reusable bag when shopping to avoid plastic bags
  • Buy second-hand to extend a product's useable life 

Avoidance is the best way to reduce waste. When you are considering purchasing a new item, ask yourself:

  • Do you really need to buy that product?
  • How will you dispose of the packaging? 
  • What will you do with the old product?
  • Can it be composted? 
  • Can someone else use it?

Avoid, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - it all starts with your shopping habits.

Top tips to reuse

  • Reuse plastic containers rather than throwing them away
  • Use a reusable cup for take away coffee or a reusable drink bottle for water.  
  • Take your cloth bags to the supermarket rather than plastic bags. 


Compost your food scraps at home to keep them from going to the landfill where they can cause adverse environmental effects. There are many systems available for removing organic waste at a household level including worm composting and Bokashi. 

Traditional composting factsheet (4.8mb pdf) Worm composting factsheet (6.8mb pdf)
Bokashi composting factsheet (4.4mb pdf)

More information on worm composting workshops

Reduce waste at work

If you’re part of an organisation or business, we can help you reduce waste. Our team will provide you with onsite support to analyse and understand your unique waste reduction needs and work with you to create solutions to reduce waste. To find out how we can help your business long term, have a look at our Resource Wise Programme, or for additional support get in touch with us at sustainability.waste@tauranga.govt.nz or phone 07 577 7000.

For more information see the Reduce waste at works webpage

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