New Zealand's food waste: estimating the tonnes, value, calories and resources wasted

C J Reynolds, M Mirosa, and B Clothier


Estimation of total, household, and commercial food waste tonnages for New Zealand in 2011 from macro-economic data and aggregated waste data. “Fresh” is separated from “processed” food waste.  Macro-economic data and aggregated waste data provides an estimate that, in 2011, New Zealand households generated over 224,000 tonnes of food waste, and New Zealand industry generated over 103,000 tonnes of food waste. 7% is related to “fresh” produce, and 93% “processed” food waste.

The value of New Zealand’s food waste in 2011 is estimated to be NZ $568 million, or $131 per person. Avoidable food waste would be able to feed between 50,000 and 80,000 people a year. New Zealand food waste embodies 4.2 x 106 tonnes of CO2-e, 4.7 x 109 m3 of water, and 29 x 103 TJ of energy. Compared to other nations, New Zealanders waste less food per capita by weight, value and calorie.

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