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Reduce food waste at your business

All Queensland businesses are encouraged to think about how they can cut food waste in the workplace.

For businesses in the food service industry here are some steps to help you on your way.

  1. Measure – Use this seven-day audit tool form (PDF, 403 KB) to measure how much food waste is generated in a standard week. We recommend you use four bins to separate and measure the waste – into inedible waste, spoilage waste, preparation waste and plate/buffet waste. Download and use these four bin labels (DOCX, 563 KB) .
  2. Act – Use the findings from your audit to look at the actions you can take.

Actions for different types of waste

1. Inedible waste

The parts of the food that cannot be consumed (e.g. seeds, coffee grounds, peels).

Find new uses

  • Collect and recycle inedible waste through:
    • an organics waste collection service
    • community compost hubs
    • onsite processing (compost bin, worm farm, bokashi bin).

This action will help create valuable new products out of this material rather than it going to landfill.

2. Spoilage waste

Food that becomes unsafe to consume because it is damaged or out of date.

Smart ordering

  • Check your stock regularly and only purchase what you need.
  • Buy smaller portions of fresh produce more often.
  • Only purchase items in bulk if you can use them before they expire.
  • Support local and buy seasonally – you’ll get produce that stays fresher for longer.
  • Consider using frozen, dried, bottled, or tinned goods as alternatives to fresh ingredients.

Savvy storage

  • First in, first out.
  • Store food as soon as it is delivered.
  • Keep storage areas clean and dry and check the temperature of your fridge and freezer regularly. Most Australian fridges recommend a setting of three degrees. Check your fridge manual for a temperature setting guide.
  • Use airtight containers or vacuum packing to keep food fresh for longer.
  • Make sure use-by dates are labelled clearly. Use this handy label template (PDF, 3.1 MB) .
  • Different foods have different storage requirements. Search the A-Z food storage guide for more storage tips.

3. Preparation waste

Food that is thrown away during preparation (e.g. offcuts).

Smart menu

  • Explore ways of using the same ingredients for different dishes.
  • Use cooking methods that make the most of the ingredients (‘nose to tail’ or ‘root to stalk’ cooking).
  • Be creative by using leftover ingredients and offcuts, such as in soups or sauces.

Empower staff

  • Train staff and provide them with the knowledge and tools to throw away less food safely.
  • Review preparation schedule and food handling procedures.

4. Plate/buffet waste

Food that is left on customers’ plates or served at a buffet but not eaten.

Engage customers

  • Offer a range of portion sizes to give customers more choice about how much they eat.
  • Offer side dishes and garnishes as an option rather than adding them automatically.
  • Offer recyclable takeaway containers and encourage customers to take home leftovers to enjoy later.

More resources to help your business

CCIQ ecoBiz Queensland – a free program for small to medium businesses that provides personalised no or low-cost recommendations to help businesses save on their energy, water and waste bills.

Stop Food Waste Australia – organisations that participate on the Australian Food Pact are working with Stop Food Waste Australia to develop tailored plans to help achieve their food waste goals.