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Our guide to reducing food waste in your home

Fresh vegetables

Discover easy tips and recipes for reducing food waste

Food waste is a major issue in Australia. According to the food rescue organisation, OzHarvest* Australians waste about 7.6 million tonnes of food each year, 70% of which is still edible. This needs to change. But how?

In this guide, we offer simple, everyday solutions for everyone including tips on how to use your food scraps and delicious ‘root-to-tip’ recipes the whole family will enjoy. 

Here are some simple ideas on how to reduce food waste in the home.

Store food & produce


How to properly store food & produce

One of the easiest ways to stop wasting food is to learn how to store it properly. Whether you’re storing produce in the fridge, freezer or pantry, there are certain things you can do to increase its shelf-life.

Organise your fridge

How to organise your fridge

Having an organised fridge and freezer is key to storing food and produce longer, and ultimately reducing wastage. First, check your fridge temperature. It should be at 5ºC or less, ideally your freezer should be at -18ºC.

Invest in airtight containers, small food bins with handles and reusable produce bags. These will help to keep your fridge neat and organised and reduce the longevity of your produce. 

Create a “use-first” section in your fridge where you store older food and produce that needs to be consumed as soon as possible. And remember not to overfill your fridge. It’s important for cool air to be able to circulate in order to keep things fresh.

More fridge organisation tips >

Understanding use-by and best-before dates >

Leafy herbs

Leafy herbs

Leafy herbs include coriander, parsley, basil, dill or mint. If you’re using them soon, snip the ends and store in a jar of water with a ziplock bag loosely covering the top of the herbs. Make sure you change the water every couple of days to keep them fresh.

Woody herbs

Woody herbs

Woody herbs are hardier and include rosemary, thyme, sage or bay leaves. Wash them, pat them dry and wrap them in a damp paper towel and store in an airtight bag in the fridge.                                                                                                                                      



Store veggies like broccolini, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, radishes and asparagus in breathable mesh or cotton fridge bags. Lettuce should be stored in an airtight bag or container to stop the leaves from wilting.                                                                          



Most berries come in breathable containers. Keep them stored in these and don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Lemon and limes


Store lemons, limes or oranges on your counter out of the sun. If they start to ripen too quickly, pop them in the fridge to keep them lasting longer.                                                                                                                                                                                     



Avocados should also be kept on the counter and then stored in the fridge to keep them fresh and from over ripening. To keep avocado halves from browning, squeeze a little lemon juice on the flesh then store in the fridge in an airtight container.



Tomatoes are best kept on the counter to ripen and enhance their flavour.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Apple banana

A note on bananas and apples

Bananas and apples release a gas called ethylene which hastens the ripening process of all produce around it. So try to store these two fruits separately.                                                                                                                                                                                     


Non-fridge produce

While a lot of produce stores well in the fridge, other things like onions, potatoes, garlic, or sweet potatoes do best in a cool, dark and dry place like the bottom of the pantry. They should be stored in a well-ventilated container or sack where they can breathe.

Don’t forget that the freezer is your friend and there is so much fresh produce you can store there to extend its life and reduce food waste. Find out more in our guide to freezing foods.

Food waste tips


Food waste tips & recipes

There are so many clever ways to use up food scraps. From celery bases or parmesan rinds to leftover lemon peel and stale bread, give new life to all the food you might normally throw away.

7 ways to reduce food waste >

How to use food scraps

Lemon peel

Lemon peel

Lemon is a cleaning powerhouse. You can use lemon peels to make your own spray cleaner (see below), as well as to clean and deodorise chopping boards. Simply sprinkle salt on your board then rub the inside of the peel over the surface. The salt acts like an abrasive.

Make your own lemon spray cleaner

Step 1 of 3

Save your lemon peels and pop them in a large glass jar in the fridge.

Step 2 of 3

Once you’ve filled the jar about half way with lemon peels, fill it with white vinegar until the peels are submerged. Close the jar with an airtight lid and store it in a dark pantry for about 2 weeks.

Instruction tip

The longer you let the peels sit, the more the lemon will infuse into the vinegar.

Step 3 of 3

After 2+ weeks, strain the vinegar into a clean glass bowl and discard the peel. Pour the lemon vinegar into a glass spray bottle and use it like you would any spray cleaner.

Parmesan rind

Parmesan rind

Cheese rind is the protective (yet edible layer) on the outside of cheese like Parmesan. While it’s too tough to chew, it adds flavour and enriches soups, stews and sauces.                                                                                                                                                                                      

Veggie scraps

Veggie scraps

Use veggie scraps like celery bases, corn cobs, onion nibs, leek leaves, carrot tops, sweet potato peel and mushroom stems to make a delicious vegetable stock. Keep scraps in a sealed container in the freezer*, and make your stock once you've collected 3-4 cups of scraps.

*Keep in the freezer for up to three months.

Pickled vegetables

Older veggies

If you’re trying to use up older veggies, try pickling them. Pickles are a wonderful addition to salads, poke bowls and sandwiches. Too soft to pickle? Add them to your food scraps collection for stock.                                                                                                                                           

Tops, stalks and stems

Tops, stalks and stems

Carrot tops make an excellent pesto, while stalks and stems from veggies like kale, silverbeet, broccoli or broccolini add extra goodness to soups and stews.

Stale bread

Stale bread

Pop stale bread into your processor and make fresh breadcrumbs in seconds. Bag and store them in your freezer for when you next make breadcrumb pasta.                                                            

Beef stock

Chicken or beef bones

Add chicken or beef bones to some water, along with onion nibs, carrot and celery stems, parsley or coriander stalks and you’ve got yourself the makings of a hearty and delicious broth.

Root-to-tip recipes

Make the most of your leftovers



How to regrow veggie scraps

Make your veggie scraps go that extra mile by regrowing them. There are so many benefits to regrowing scraps. It reduces wastage, which means less food in landfills, it saves money, and it’s a great hobby for the whole family. This simple and engaging project is fun and fascinating for kids as they watch food grow before their very eyes. You don’t need a backyard or garden to grow your own food either, just a couple of jars, a small pot and a sunny spot to place them.

See our step-by-step videos on how to re-grow celery, spring onions and chilli seeds

Other veggies that regrow well include:

  • Romaine lettuce bases
  • Fennel fronds
  • Lemongrass stems
  • Basil and coriander stems
  • Potatoes 
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Garlic

If you still have food scraps leftover, add them to your compost. If you don’t have space for a compost bin, check with your local council to see if they have a FOGO (Food Organics and Garden Organics) collection system.

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