OzHarvest, United Nations urge Aussies to change food waste habits and #PledgeAPlate

25 Jul 2016

Leading food rescue organisation, OzHarvest, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are urging Australians to take action on food waste as part of the fourth annual Think.Eat.Save campaign, taking place across Australia on July 25, and save billions of dollars. 

Think.Eat.Save events taking place nationwide will see some of the nation’s top chefs – such as Neil Perry, Maggie Beer, George Calombaris and Matt Moran – business leaders, politicians and celebrities unite to address the urgent issue of food waste, which is currently costing Australians up to $8 billion each year.

Founder and CEO of OzHarvest, Ronni Kahn, said the aim of Think.Eat.Save 2016 is to bring attention to the alarming amount of food wasted in Australia and around the world, where roughly one third of food produced for human consumption (approx. 1.3 billion tonnes) is wasted or lost along the way.

“The current global and local food waste statistics are alarming,” Ms Kahn said. “We urgently need change to happen now to ensure a sustainable food system for future generations. This year at Think.Eat.Save we are urging Australians to make a dish using their leftovers, giving life to food that would otherwise have been wasted.

“These small efforts to reduce food waste create positive change and inspire others to take action about the urgent issue of food waste and food security.”

Members of the public are encouraged to get involved by making a personal pledge to change their eating behaviour and reduce food waste via #PledgeAPlate. You can pledge a plate by making a meal out of leftovers, rescued or saved ingredients, taking a photo and uploading it on social media with the hashtag #PledgeAPlate and fundraise via www.pledgeaplate.com. Those participating are then encouraged to nominate someone else to take part via social media.

“To achieve a sustainable world, we need to transform the way we produce and consume our food – particularly as populations grow and climate change lowers agricultural productivity,” said UNEP Spokesperson Naysán Sahba.

“The Think.Eat.Save campaign sends the clear message that every individual can make a difference, and save themselves money, through simple measures to reduce food waste. We thank OzHarvest for championing the campaign in Australia and beyond.”

To mark the national Australian campaign to reduce food waste, OzHarvest will host 11 events across the country, feeding over 15,000 thousand people a free, delicious and hearty hot meal made from rescued produce and educating people about reducing food waste.

#PledgeAPlate Campaign Toolkits will be made available from July 25 at www.pledgeaplate.com for businesses and schools to take action and get involved in the Think.Eat.Save campaign.

The national food waste reduction campaign is supported by Woolworths and Glad.


DATE & TIME: Monday, 25 July from 11.30am – 2.30pm (major cities)


Sydney event: Martin Place, Sydney

Adelaide event: The University of Adelaide Goodman Lawns, North Terrace

Brisbane event: St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane

Canberra event: Petrie Plaza

Gold Coast event: The 4217, 10 Beach Road, Surfers Paradise

Melbourne event: The State Library of Victoria, Melbourne

Newcastle event: Wheeler Place, Newcastle

Perth event: Forrest Place, Perth CBD

Regional Areas: Cairns, Sapphire Coast, Armidale

For a full list of events and information, please visit www.ozharvest.org

Follow us on Twitter @OzHarvest or Facebook or call 1800 108 006

Social media tags: #ozharvest #thinkeatsave #pledgeaplate

@UNEP #SaveFood #UNFAO #FoodWaste @FAOKnowledge @FAOnews @save_food_news

For more media information, images or interviews with Ronni Kahn, Founder and CEO of OzHarvest, chefs or Ambassadors please contact:

Juliana Sedgers at Liquid Ideas on julianasedgers@liquidideas.com.au | +61 2 9667 4211 | +61 424 655 340

Louise Tran at OzHarvest on louise.tran@ozharvest.org | +61 2 9516 3877 | +61 466 620 744


Notes to Editors:

Local food facts

  • Australians throw out $8-10 billion of food every year. As a nation we waste four million tonnes per annum of food which ends up in landfill.[1]
  • Australians throw out one out of every five shopping bags, which equates to every Australian household throwing out $1,036 worth of groceries each year. [2]
  • Australia produces enough food to feed approx. 60 million people, yet 2.5 million people live below the poverty line[3]
  • 1 in 6 Australians report having experienced food insecurity at least once in the last 12 months and 2015 saw an 8% increase in the number of people seeking food relief[4]
  • 603,000, or 17.7 per cent, of all children in Australia, are living in poverty.[5]


Global food loss and waste facts

  • Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.[6]
  • Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes). [7]
  • Food loss and waste also amount to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital and needlessly produce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change. [8]
  • While the planet is struggling to provide us with enough resources to sustain its 7 billion people (growing to 9 billion by 2050), FAO estimates that a third of global food production is either wasted or lost. Food waste is an enormous drain on natural resources and a contributor to negative environmental impacts.
  • If food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost. For example, it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk and about 16,000 litres goes into a cow’s food to make a hamburger. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions from the cows themselves, and throughout the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food.
  • Given this enormous imbalance in lifestyles and the resultant devastating effects on natural resources and the environment, this year’s theme – Eat.Save - Reduce Your Foodprint – encourages you to become more aware of the impacts of your food choices and empowers you to make informed decisions. 

For more information visit www.thinkeatsave.org                                   

About FAO

Achieving food security for all is at the heart of FAO's efforts – to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. FAO’s three main goals are: eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and, sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations. Visit: www.fao.org 

About SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction In May 2011 FAO launched the Global Initiative on food loss and waste reduction (also called SAVE FOOD Initiative) as a corporate effort together with the private sector trade fair organizer Messe Düsseldorf GmbH (Germany). SAVE FOOD works in partnership with donors, bi- and multi-lateral agencies, financial institutions, public, private sector and civil society for: (i) Awareness raising; (ii) Collaboration and coordination of world-wide initiatives; (iii) Evidence-based policy, strategy and programme development, including a methodology for assessing food loss; (iv) Technical support to investment programmes and projects. UNEP joined SAVE FOOD by launching the Think.Eat.Save Campaign in January 2013. Visit: www.fao.org/save-food

In August 2013 the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific launched the SAVE FOOD Asia-Pacific Campaign in Bangkok, Thailand. Strategic action areas identified through consultations: awareness raising, the relevant role of the private sector and support mechanisms by governments in order to facilitate smallholder effective organization along with the role played by consumers. Visit: http://www.savefood.net/  

About the FAO-UNEP Sustainable Food Systems Programme

The FAO/UNEP sustainable food systems program is catalysing partnerships among United Nations agencies, governments, private sector and civil society to promote activities that improve the sustainability of food consumption and production. Visit: http://www.fao.org/ag/ags/sustainable-food-consumption-and-production/en   

In June 2012 on the occasion of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the U.N. Secretary General launched the Zero Hunger Challenge[9] which includes addressing sustainability of all food systems and the aim of zero food loss and waste. The Committee on World Food Security (CFS)[10], the foremost intergovernmental body for food security and nutrition, at its thirty-ninth Session (October 2012), requested its High Level Panel of Experts on food security and nutrition (HLPE)[11] to prepare a report on Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems to inform the discussions in Plenary in October 2014. In May 2014 HLPE released the summary and recommendations of its report[12].

[1] Love Food Hate Waste, EPA, Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study 2009, Foodwise, www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-08/food-waste-value-australia/4993930

[2] Love Food Hate Waste, EPA, Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study 2009

[3] DAFF, National Food Plan 2012 & ACOSS Poverty in Australia 2014

[4] Foodbank Hunger Report 2016

[5] ACOSS Poverty in Australia 2014

[6] FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste - Extent, causes and prevention, Rome

[7] FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste - Extent, causes and prevention, Rome

[8] FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste - Extent, causes and prevention, Rome

[9] Visit: Zero Hunger Challenge

[10] Visit: Committee on World Food Security (CFS)

[11] Visit: High Level Panel of Experts on food security and nutrition (HLPE)

[12] Visit: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/hlpe/hlpe_documents/HLPE_S_and_R/HLPE_2014_Food_Losses_and_Waste_Summary_EN.pdf

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Challenge your friends & colleagues

Know someone who can whip up an amazing meal from leftovers? Challenge them to #PledgeAPlate now.