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FT-Apr16-vol51-3 19 markets and manufacturers purposely rip the packaging of the food they throw away to generate fears of possible contamination and thus discourage dumpster diving,” the researcher on dumpster diving says. “Clearance supermarkets in Australia are educating people that ‘best by’ dates are not ‘use by’ dates, encouraging them to buy what they term ‘out-of-date’ products… a more palatable term than ‘expired’,” she says. “Even though some Kiwi retailers like Bakers Delight donate food to the needy, a lot more could be done by other companies. It’s a crying shame that edible food is going to waste, particularly when so many remain in need in this land of plenty. “I can’t help agreeing with the diver who declared online that ‘instead of them to support more families who often struggle to provide enough food. “It’s a great example of the incredible things that can happen when the business and community sectors work together for society and for the environment,” she says. From Countdown’s perspective, managing director Dave Chambers says the company’s policy is to donate food that is still fit for consumption to community charity partners such as Kaivolution, with $3.5 million worth of food donated last year. In Wellington, charity Kaibosh is rescuing an average of 10,000kg per month, which provides more than 28,000 meals to those in the community who need it most. Manager Matt Dagger says his organisation expects that amount to rise significantly in line with its newest initiative…the opening of a second base in Lower Hutt. WASTEMINZ’s 2014 research into food wastage is eyewatering. Of 229,022 tonnes of food sent to landfill by Kiwi households annually, half is avoidable food waste and worth $872 million each year. Eliminating this would have the same effect as reducing CO2 equivalent emissions by 326,000 tonnes…the equivalent of planting 130,000 trees. A recent report says the top 10 foods wasted in New Zealand last year were bread (10%), left overs (8%), potatoes (5%), apples (3%), poultry (3%), bananas (3%), lettuces (3%), oranges (2%), pumpkin (2%) and carrots (2%). Some commercial food waste is used to supply pig farms, although the Biosecurity (Meat and Food Waste for Pigs) Regulations 2005 prohibits feeding pigs with uncooked meat or food that has been in contact with uncooked meat, in order to prevent the spread of diseases to the animals. Supermarkets do not sell foods past their ‘use by’ date for legal reasons or a perceived danger to health. Dumpster diving is not covered specifically by New Zealand legislation, but legally rubbish remains the property of the disposer until it is collected. In Auckland, Ecostock collects and recycles food waste from manufacturers, retailers, importers and transport companies to make high-quality stock feed, whilst in Wellington the Kai to Compost scheme involves 50 businesses and is dumpster diving being illegal, it should be illegal for corporations to throw food away.” CHANGE is slowly starting to happen, with organisations now set up to distribute surplus food from hospitality businesses to hungry people in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Palmerston North and Dunedin. In Hamilton, food rescue charity Kaivolution has teamed up with Countdown to distribute produce and bakery items from Countdown Claudelands and Hamilton to support healthy environments and thriving communities. Kaivolution manager Ruth Seabright says the organisation is only 17 months old and has already ‘rescued’ more than 82 tonnes of food. “The food we receive is such a blessing to the charity groups that we work with, enabling “I can’t help agreeing with the diver who declared online that ‘instead of dumpster diving being illegal, it should be illegal for corporations to throw food away’.” Karen Fernandez, dumpster diving researcher

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