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Why tech is the answer to reducing food waste

Tuesday, 11 Aug 2015

Information Age

Industry needs to take action.

Australians throw out $8 billion of edible food every year – which equates to about 345kg per household, according to statistics vetted by the ABC’s Fact Check.

There are many reasons why this occurs, anti-waste campaigners Foodwise say. Some of these reasons may include not checking what we have before going shopping, cooking too much or buying takeaway instead of using what’s already at home.

Now, a QUT researcher has embarked on a study [pdf, 26MB] to work out exactly why people throw food out “and how technology could be designed to influence this behaviour and reduce food waste.”

"There are three main reasons why household food ends up in the bin," Dr Geremy Farr-Wharton, from the Urban Informatics Research Lab in the QUT School of Design said.

"It is because of a lack of food supply knowledge (what's in my kitchen), food location knowledge (what's in my fridge and pantry), and level of food literacy (how to use it and how to judge its edibility)."

Knowing this, Dr Farr-Wharton tested several different ways to reduce food waste in test households.

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