Woolworths partners with OzHarvest to reduce Aussie food waste

By Uwear

Supermarket giant Woolworths has recently partnered with OzHarvest to collect and distribute food to people in need across Australia.

OzHarvest is the nation’s leading local food rescue organisation, and the agreement intends to eliminate food waste sent to landfill by year 2020. Although Woolworths came up short of reaching its optimistic target of eliminating food waste sent to landfill by 2015, the company believes the partnership will help it get there within the next five years.

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Woolworths is urging its collection of farmers, manufacturers, producers, employees and customers in an effort minimise food waste. The partnership also intends to support OzHarvest’s educational campaigns on food waste reduction.

“Our customers want to see us reducing our food waste,” said Woolworths managing director Brad Banducci. “We’ll do that right through the supply chain from selling our odd bunch imperfect fruit and vegetables to donating food through OzHarvest, our other food rescue partners, and other initiatives like animal food and commercial composting.

“Our target remains ambitious but with great partners it is achievable.”

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According to Woolies most recent corporate social responsibilities numbers, the company decreased its total waste to landfill by 25 per cent between 2008 and 2015. During that time frame, the retail giant also increased its food supply to those in need by a whopping 160 per cent to 4.5 million meals.

While OzHarvest CEO Ronni Kahn said Aussies throw away nearly $10 billion worth of food each year, she acknowledged the charity has helped cut that waste in half during 2015.

"We need to stop food waste in this country, stop hunger, stop homelessness, because they're man-made,” said Kahn. “We could never do that without this type of partnership. Woolworths gives us the strength and power. When you have the biggest food business supporting us, then what we can achieve is unlimited."

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OzHarvest is the first perishable food rescue organisation in Australia, as it collects quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivers it to 600 charities around the country direct and free of charge.

Founded in 2004 by Kahn, OzHarvest is the only food rescue organisation in Australia collecting surplus food from all food providers, including fruit and vegetable markets, supermarkets, hotels, wholesalers, farmers, stadiums, corporate events, catering companies, shopping centres, delis, cafes, restaurants, film and TV shoots and boardrooms.

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