Avoiding food waste

Food waste makes up to 37% of the average garbage bin in the Council area. Reducing food waste is a priority to the Council as it's key to moving towards zero waste.

Food waste costs Australian households $2,000 - $2,500 per year.

Some of the reasons why food is wasted are: 

  • Cooking and buying too much
  • Mistakenly discarding food before the use-by/best before date
  • Changing plans last minute to eat out or buy takeaway meals

Wasting food also wastes the energy, water and natural resources used to grow, package, transport and market that food.

Here are some key recommendations to avoiding food waste to help you decrease your footprint and save money.


  • Check your cupboards and fridge before you go shopping.
  • Keep a list or write one before you go to the shops.
  • Think about delaying shopping for a day and using what you already have.
  • Make a weekly meal plan so that you don’t over buy.
  • Don’t get tempted by two for one specials. It’s not saving you money if you don’t end up using it.


  • Love Food Hate Waste has some great storage tips.
  • Fresh food will last longer if it’s stored correctly. For example, salad and leafy greens can be wrapped in a damp tea towel and then placed in the fridge.
  • Confused about best before and use by dates? Here's a short video that explains the difference.
  • Scroll down this page and learn some storage tips for the most commonly waste food items.


  • Check how many people will be home before cooking.
  • Prepare a large portion at once and store in the freezer for later use.
  • Calculate your portions with a Portion Planner.
  • Explore easy-to-use meal planning apps with recipes that match your portion size and dietary requirements.
  • Check out the section below and learn zero food waste recipes.

Become a zero food waste hero

Did you know that vegetables, bread, fruit, bagged salad, and leftovers are Australia's five most wasted foods?

Click on each food item to learn tips to buy, store and recipes to use it all. 

Workshops and training 

There are other fantastic ongoing programs such as Food Smart, with tips and information to help you save food and money.


Unavoidable food waste

Council offers residents support to compost or divert food waste through:

  • Home composting - Council offers all households one subsidised home composting and worm farming system through Compost Revolution.
  • Communal composting in apartment complexes with Compost Collective - Council offers apartment blocks and houses free compost bins and ongoing support.
  • Food recycling in apartments - Council rolled out a Food Recycling service to apartment buildings in the Inner West.

Do you have a food waste question or a great tip? Email us at rethink.waste@innerwest.nsw.gov.au

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Page last updated: 21 Dec 2022