OzHarvest, BioPak and Alastair McLeod team up to feed Brisbane’s most vulnerable and fight the war on waste

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OzHarvestBioPak and acclaimed Australian chef and TV personality Alastair McLeod have today teamed up to host a zero-waste cooking event ‘Cooking for Change’ to help feed some of Brisbane’s most vulnerable communities and fight the war on waste.

Held at Suncoast Fresh in Rocklea, the day included top innovations driving change in the food service industry, with food rescue and composting noted as key drivers in facilitating change and tackling the nation’s current waste crisis.

Key initiatives included OzHarvest’s Cooking for a Cause program, Australia’s first national composting product stewardship scheme, Compost Connect, sustainability innovations from Suncoast Fresh and Future Wild, and trending insights from Queensland composting service, Mallow Sustainability.

Preparing a dish using reclaimed foods that would have otherwise gone to waste, renowned chef, Alastair McLeod, explained how simple it is to create nourishing meals that can be used with everyday ingredients found in the fridge and pantry.

“Cooking and preparing nourishing meals does not need to be costly and complicated. By using everyday products and seasonal produce, we can create a number of delicious dishes from just 3-4 core ingredients. This not only reduces food waste but ensures that people get more value from their grocery shop.”

OzHarvest chef, Kara Urbanska-Ball explained the significance of ensuring good food does not go to waste, especially when there are still so many individuals experiencing hunger.

“With 3.7 million households in Australia experiencing food insecurity in the last 12 months, our Cooking for a Cause program plays an important role in helping communities in need. To create restaurant quality meals out of rescued food that was once destined for landfill provides a real sense of purpose for all involved and we are proud to offer this initiative here in Brisbane.”

The event also showcased Australia’s first national composting product stewardship scheme Compost Connect, aiming to reduce the one million tonnes of organic waste created by Australia’s foodservice industry every year, which is the weight of nearly 19 Sydney Harbour Bridges.

“Composting is a viable solution to Australia’s current food and packaging waste crisis –  it is already happening and it works,” said BioPak’s Head of Sustainability, Lea Maguero.

“Product Stewardship schemes such as Compost Connect are pioneering change and helping businesses and individuals understand the benefits of composting to divert organic waste from landfill. Awareness and education is key. Together, we can turn food waste and certified compostable packaging into nutrient-rich compost and encourage local councils to jump on board.”

Dickson Lee from composting service Mallow Sustainability also added to the discussion, showcasing the benefits of food waste and certified compostable packaging being disposed of in the one bin.

“Composting has many benefits to our customers, the environment and the community, such as reducing waste to landfill, reducing costs, combating climate change, improving soil health and supplying local organic food back to the community,” said Dickson. Compost Connect currently has 381 businesses who progressively joined the initiative, and have helped divert approximately 5,585 tonnes of organic waste and compostable packaging from landfill.

This contributed in creating 3,909 tonnes of compost, and avoided and sequestered the emission of 2,848 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.

Meals made from today’s event will be delivered to charities around Brisbane that help feed people in need.

For more information on Compost Connect: https://www.compostconnect.org/

For more information on OzHarvest’s Cooking for a Cause: https://www.ozharvest.org/cooking-for-a-cause/

For more information Mallow Sustainability: https://www.mallowsustainability.com.au/

For more information on AlFreshCo: https://alfreshco.com.au/

For more information on Suncoast Fresh: https://www.suncoastfresh.com.au/


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First published in 2003, Eco Voice is your go-to publication for sustainability news in Australia. Eco Voice prides itself as an independent news platform with a clear focus on sustainability, with articles coming from a diverse range of contributors – all levels of government, corporations, not-for-profits, community groups, small to medium sized businesses, universities, research organisations, together with input from international sources. Eco Voice values community, conservation and commerce. Eco Voice is a media partner of the prestigious Australian Banksia Sustainability Awards – The Peak Sustainability Awards.