Saving our Food
Food that is wasted, not going into human mouths, not having a purpose, being left to rot and a wasted resource, is about 8% of our global climate emissions. That is a staggering amount!
We all love food, but the ways we grow, make, sell and consume it causes a scandalous amount of waste. The land footprint used to grow this wasted food every year occupies an area the size of Canada and India combined. Food waste also uses vast quantities of water and is linked to 8-11% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
In response, the UN has called for food waste to be halved by 2030, and as a country that makes a lot of food – we export about 70% of our agricultural output – Australia has a considerable role to play. Australia started its response to this challenge with the release of the National Food Waste Strategy in 2017.
Hear pioneering global expert on wasted food, Dr Christian Reynolds, in conversation with UNSW's Chris McElwain, as they explain why we waste so much food and discuss the twin challenges of saving more food and safely managing the food we cannot avoid wasting.
If you'd like to dig deep into this conversation, The Routledge Handbook of Food Waste is available now from the UNSW Bookshop. Order here for a 20% discount.
The Centre for Ideas’ International Conversations series brings the world to Sydney. Each digital event brings a leading UNSW thinker together with their international peer or hero to explore inspiration, new ideas and discoveries.
Dr Christian Reynolds is Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Food Policy, City University, London; and is the Senior Tutor for Research at the Centre for Food Policy.
Christian is recognised as a global expert on food waste and sustainable diets. He has worked on these issues in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the UK, US, and Europe. He is the lead editor of the Routledge Handbook of Food Waste; he has also co-authored over 50 peer reviewed publications, as well as multiple reports and book chapters. Christian has given evidence to UK and NZ parliaments on food waste and contributed to the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard. Christian also researches sustainable cookery; food history; and the political power of food in international relations.
Chris McElwain is a Teaching Fellow and PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Law and Justice at UNSW. His research explores issues of sustainability and regulatory theory, focusing on waste prevention and resource recovery.
His PhD is investigating the challenges of wasted food with a view to finding effective ways for Australia to save more food and better manage the food it cannot avoid wasting. His approach is supported by more than 20 years’ experience in designing and using environmental regulatory systems. He was a lawyer for the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority, the main government environmental regulator for NSW, for more than 10 years and helped design NSW's main pollution prevention and waste control laws in the late 1990's. He was subsequently a senior manager in the EPA's waste and resource recovery team for more than 10 years.