The environmental benefits of rescuing unsold food (2010)

The environmental benefits of rescuing unsold food (2010)
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The environmental benefits of rescuing unsold food (2010)

Oz Harvest rescues surplus prepared meals and meal ingredients from many different organisations, and provides this food to agencies catering to the homeless and hungry in Sydney, Canberra, and beginning soon—Adelaide. In Sydney during 2009–10, Oz Harvest rescued approximately 550 tonnes of food, mainly ready to- eat meals—this was nearly 2 million meals. Oz Harvest is targeting building to a similar (per capita) level of food rescue in Adelaide, over the next 3–5 years.

This would be an estimated 150 tonnes of food rescued per year in Adelaide—approximately ½ million meals. The waste reduction associated with this large scale food rescue has a significant benefit for the environment. Food rescue programs have existed for some time now and are acknowledged for their social and welfare benefits.

The environmental benefits of food rescue programs are also an important benefit of these types of programs. The objective of this study was to build upon earlier food rescue related LCA work undertaken by Hyder Consulting, to estimate the approximate environmental benefits of Oz Harvest’s anticipated food rescue program in Adelaide.

The estimated benefits of Oz Harvest's food rescue anticipated activities is the avoided emissions of 310 tonnes of greenhouse gases (tonnes CO2-eq) or the annual equivalent of permanently removing 90 cars from the road. It also achieves a water saving equivalent to the annual water consumption of 120 Adelaide households, and a saving in landfill disposal equivalent to the annual generation of 300 households.

On average, every kilogram of food that Oz Harvest rescues will avoid 2 kg of greenhouse (kg CO2-eq) emissions, and avoid the consumption of 143 litres of water.