Saturday, May 9, 2015

You Are What You Waste: Raising Awareness about Food Waste

I have been engaged by a local Council to work on a documentary photography project, ‘You Are What You Waste’.  The project is right up my street, as it not only involves some creative photography, it involves aspects of sustainability. This project is a collaboration with the NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy. 

Currently more than 800,000 tonnes of food waste is thrown out each in NSW; that’s more than 1.3 of our household rubbish. This project explores food and packaging waste and will help identify the benefits of reducing organic waste going to landfill and contamination in the recycling bin.

Participating households are required to retain all of their food waste and packaging during the course of a week.  They are also required to keep a record of their household expenses on food, and shop for the same groceries at the end of that week.  Then, together with Council officers, PolisPlan will photograph and document the food they consumed and the waste they generated.

Four households have signed up for the project. After this exercise is carried out all households participate in a workshop designed to teach them techniques to reduce waste and the process will then be repeated. They are given a handy toolkit with lots of goodies such as reusable lunch bags and recipes to help them develop good food habits. Many of those who have put up their hands for this project are already very aware of the issues related to food waste.  Some of the households are already using worm farms and compost bins, so their action plans will be more challenging.

While most Australians are good recyclers, many people don’t realise that a large part of their ecological footprint is as a result of the type of food consumed.  By choosing food that has less packaging, has not travelled vast distances and has been produced in a sustainable way, we can help reduce our footprint.   This project will give people access to a list of the closest farmers markets and one of the families pledge to shop more at such places. 

It is an interesting project to work on and we are excited about the variety of projects that we are getting involved in. We have also offered to prepare some infographics and put together a documentary video that will animate some of the still images and convey the story graphically.

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