Log in

Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector


  • 30 May 2014 5:22 PM | Anonymous member

    Event Food Waste from Green Event Book

    Food waste is the unfortunate by-product of many events. It occurs through the mishandling of food, through over-supply and under-eating.

    Food waste at events is waste of resources, of time and effort, and of course, of money. It costs to buy the ingredients, pay the staff and then to dispose of the waste. Food into landfill is a major cause of landfill methane emissions, a global greenhouse gas emissions contributor. Food waste at events also contributes to startling global food waste statistics, estimated at 1/3 of all food produced being lost or wasted.[i]

    The Love Food Hate Waste campaign in the UK aims to do just that – to raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste and help people take action.

    Here’s a quick checklist of actions you can take to avoid or reduce food waste at your event:

    Food service:

    • Serve less food. At conferences do people really want to be stuffed full?!
    • Avoid over catering. Accurately estimate the volume of food required considering the number of attendees, the event type and timing of activities or breaks.
    • Accurately brief caterers & food stalls. Communicate honestly the likely event attendance to caterers and food vendors.
    • Don’t overbook. Ensure you don’t book too many food stallholders considering the likely event attendance.
    • Attendee uptake. Understand if attendees may bring their own food and adjust communications and logistics accordingly. Ensure an even spread of types of food options that are likely to appeal to your attendees, so that no individual food stallholders are less attended that others, leading to food waste.
    • Pricing. Ensure pricing of food does not lead to lower sales volumes than anticipated.
    • Communicate. Inform attendees what food will be available and at what price. Ask for dietary requirements in advance to reduce wastage and satisfy attendees.
    • Food Salvage Planning. Have a food salvage/re-distribution program in place. Request caterers do not uncover/open/serve all food at once, so that if over supply has occurred, the perishable food has been handled correctly for donation to food salvage programmes.

    Food Serviceware:

    • Reusables. Use washable & reusable crockery and cutlery rather than single-use disposables.
    • Reduce packaging. If it must be served in disposables, go for less-waste options such as a serviette rather than paper plate for ‘finger foods’. Serve pizzas on trays not in pizza boxes, don’t put lids on cups and take-outs if they will be consumed immediately.
    • Avoid landfilling of disposable serviceware. Use disposables that can be recycled or composted.
    • Bulk it up. Use bulk dispensing for condiments, rather than single serve sachets or sauces poured into little containers. Encourage caterers and food vendors to purchase their ingredients in bulk. Using large 2 litre cans rather than lots of small cans for example.
    • Take back the tap. Provide tap water and water refill stations, not bottled water.
    • Reduce boxes. Encourage caterers and food vendors to receive their fresh produce in re-usable boxes, rather than single use disposables such as foam boxes. There are many services available that have take-back/exchange for delivery boxes
    • Cleaning. Use washable cleaning cloths rather than paper towel disposables

    [i] Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Access May 2013

    A free checklist from Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Guide 

  • 26 November 2013 4:08 PM | Anonymous member

    The Good Food Website

    by Matt Holden

    When Melbourne's KeepCup announced its six-ounce cup at Milan's Out of the Box in October, the company was immediately hit with requests for a 10-ounce cup too: a similarly "smaller" version of its large 12-ounce cup that would give latte drinkers a stronger "tall" (figure that out).

    The company responded on its blog with the plaintive: "We are trying to create fewer cups, not more …"

    At 180ml, the 6oz is designed for evolved coffee palates, says KeepCup's founder Abigail Forsythe. Think of it as an artisan coffee cup, for magics, flat whites, long blacks and - gasp - takeaway filter brews.

    But does the KeepCup actually work?

    Since 2009, we have bought 3.5 million KeepCups, diverting 3.5 billion disposable cups from landfill, says Forsythe. She adds that many fans own as many as eight and quite a bit of KeepCup use is to carry coffee from the home espresso machine to commuter car cup holder.

    The disposable cup numbers are still large - 2.7 million a day in Australia, or nearly 1 billion a year, according to one estimate. Like all large numbers, they generate more large numbers: 1 billion a year in Australia is part of 500 billion manufactured world-wide (we punch above our weight there, too).

    Whether a paper cup can be recycled depends on the proportion of plastic to paper. Research by one of Planet Ark's associates found only 50 per cent of takeaway cups used in shopping centre cafes were suitable for even low-grade recycling.

    There are takeaway cups lined with plant-derived PLA plastic, which is biodegradable, though in landfill its decomposition is measured in decades, not days.

    Then there's the flavour effect of drinking through a lid, sippy cup-style: the reduced aroma input to your senses is one reason coffee tastes different in a takeaway.

    Also worth considering is the classic energy input analysis from 1994. Martin Hocking of the University of Victoria in Canada calculated a ceramic cup embodied 14 megajoules of energy, compared with 6.3 for reusable plastic, 5.5 for glass, 0.55 for paper and 0.2 for foam. This means a glass takes 15 uses to break even with paper on the energy budget, and a ceramic cup 39, including the dishwasher energy - doable. But a glass has to be used 393 times to break even with a foam cup, and a ceramic cup more than 1000. So the choice is probably about convenience as much as energy use.

    From on 26 November 2013

  • 09 October 2013 10:42 AM | Anonymous member

    Do Australians waste $8 billion worth of edible food each year?

    Australians might love a good meal – but if you believe the claims of FoodWise, a national campaign run by not-for-profit group DoSomething, the amount we throw away is staggering. "Aussies throw out $8 billion worth of edible food every year," it says.

    OzHarvest, a charity which collects food from businesses which would otherwise be discarded, uses a similar figure. "Australians throw away food worth $7.8 billion a year," it says.

    Eight billion dollars is a lot of money. It's double the Federal Government's commitment to foreign aid this financial year. As Australia's largest food festival Good Food Month gets underway across the country, ABC Fact Check takes a look at whether the figure is accurate.

    ·         The claim: FoodWise says Australians throw out $8 billion worth of edible food every year.

    ·         The verdict: Based on the available research, the claim stacks up. But the $8 billion only relates to household food waste. The total value of food waste in Australia would far exceed this figure.

    FoodWise has used a food waste avoidance studyby the NSW Government to reach its figure. OzHarvest sources its figure from FoodWise.

    The NSW Government study was conducted in 2009 in the form of an online survey. It was completed by 1,200 NSW residents aged 16 and older. It found that NSW households on average throw away $1,036 worth of edible food each year.

    Participants were asked to "estimate the dollar value of each type of food your household purchases but throws away without being consumed (including going into the compost, worm farm, or fed to pets)". The breakdown was as follows:

    Food type

    Yearly waste

    Weekly waste

    Fresh food












    Frozen food



    Home delivered/take away







    The study found people aged 18 to 24 and households with incomes over $100,000 throw away the most food. The two main reasons for the waste were food being left in the fridge or freezer too long and people not finishing their meals.

    FoodWise took the $1,036 figure and multiplied it by the number of households across Australia - 7,760,320 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics - to reach $8 billion. 

    Other research

    Sustainability Victoria, a statutory authority with a board appointed by state environment minister, conducted a food waste avoidance study in 2010 which surveyed more than 1,200 households across the state. The study found households in Victoria estimate they spend more than $2,000 a year on food that is wasted - almost double the NSW figure of $1,036. The study found 18 to 24 year olds and households with incomes of more than $130,000 a year are the state's biggest wasters.

    policy brief by think tank The Australia Institute, published in 2009, concluded that "Australians are throwing away food worth $5.2 billion a year". It conducted an online survey of 1,603 grocery buyers across Australia. It found NSW households throw out an estimated $643 worth of edible food each year, while households in Victoria throw out an estimated $560. It also found households with higher incomes were the biggest food wasters.

    ABC Fact Check asked the researchers why their annual household food waste values for NSW and Victoria were so much less than the estimates in the NSW Government and Sustainability Victoria food waste avoidance studies. Dr Richard Denniss, the institute's executive director, said the $5.2 billion figure in the study was a "conservative estimate" because it only asked people about specific types of food that they threw out. "It included major sources of waste, but did not capture all food waste," Dr Denniss said.

    Kerbside bin audits

    Another method of measuring household food waste is bin auditing. In NSW, a 2007-08 audit of the greater Sydney region found food made up 40.3 per cent of bin waste. That was based on audits of 51 households.

    In Victoria, an audit of 600 randomly selected bins across metropolitan Melbourne was conducted in May 2008. It found food waste accounted for 41 per cent of the contents of those bins.

    And in South Australia, an audit of the city of Burnside looked at more than 200 bins from May to June 2013. In this study, food accounted for 42 per cent of waste bin materials.

    National Food Waste Assessment was prepared by the University of Technology Sydney for the federal government in June 2011. In terms of household waste audit data, it found "there is a high level of variability in the methodology used in different states and territories, at different times". However, it noted that NSW and SA data is among the most reliable, as "methodologies for undertaking such audits have been in place for longer periods".

    Reaching the $8 billion figure

    FoodWise's claim - that Australians throw out $8 billion worth of edible food every year - uses the NSW figure - that NSW households throw away $1,036 worth of edible food each year - as the basis for its calculations. But the calculation assumes households in other states and territories waste the same amount of food as those in NSW.

    Christian Reynolds, from CQUniversity's Food Waste Project Team, says the calculation is safe because while waste habits vary from state to state, "NSW is the middle of the road in terms of household recycling practices". He cites figure 2.9 in the 2010 National Waste Report, prepared by the national Environment Protection and Heritage Council, which shows NSW sitting just below the national average in terms of waste generated by households and councils.

    To further test whether the NSW figure can safely be used as the basis for a national one, Fact Check looked into where NSW sits in terms of its percentage of young people and rich people compared to the rest of Australia. Age and income were chosen, as the above studies highlight them to be key drivers of household food waste.

    Australian Bureau of Statistics figures on Household Income and Income Distribution for 2011-12 show Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria have disposable household incomes below the national average. The ACT, WA and the NT have the highest average incomes. NSW recorded an average household weekly income only 2 per cent above the national average, which the ABS says is "not a statistically significant difference".

    In terms of young people, ABS figures from June 2010 show NSW to have slightly fewer 18 to 24 year olds (as a percentage of the state's total population) than the national average.

    Non-household food waste

    Food thrown away by households makes up only a portion of Australia's total food waste. The National Food Waste Assessment identified several stages at which food waste occurs including pre-farm gate (agricultural production), farm gate to check out and check out to consumer. The latter category can be broken down again, into food waste by supermarkets, other commercial and industrial outlets and finally, consumers. Residential food waste falls into the consumer category.

    The verdict

    Based on the available research, the claim that Australians throw out $8 billion worth of edible food every year stacks up. But this figure only relates to household food waste. The total value of food waste in Australia, including commercial waste from restaurants and supermarkets, would far exceed this figure.


    ·         Good Food Month, website

    ·         FoodWise, Fast Facts on Food Waste

    ·         OzHarvest, Annual Report 2012

    ·         Final update on the Federal Coalition election policy commitments, September 5, 2013

    ·         NSW Government, Food Waste Avoidance Benchmark Study

    ·         Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011 Census QuickStats

    ·         Sustainability Victoria, Food Waste Avoidance Study 2010

    ·         The Australia Institute, What a waste: An analysis of household expenditure on food, November 5, 2009

    ·         NSW Government, Domestic Kerbside Waste and Recycling in NSW

    ·         Department of Environment, Understanding your waste stream

    ·         Kerbside Waste Audit May/June 2013 City of Burnside, KESAB environmental solutions

    ·         National Food Waste Assessment, June 2011

    ·         Australian Government, National Waste Report 2010

    ·         Australian Bureau of Statistics, Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia, 2011-12 

    ·         Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, Jun 2010



    First posted Tue 8 Oct 2013, 5:45pm AEDT [09 October 2013]

  • 25 July 2013 1:21 PM | Anonymous member


    A British website - - has additional info, including a food waste app. 

    Wednesday, 5 June 2013 marked World Environment Day and the theme of this year’s celebration was Think.Eat.Save, an anti-food waste and food loss campaign aimed at encouraging all of us to reduce our foodprint.

    According to Foodwise, a staggering 4 million tonnes of food ($8 billion of edible food) gets thrown out each year in Australia. This equates to around 345kg per household; a total of 34,000 tonnes of food waste if we extrapolate this to the homes of all the people employed in the Australian legal sector.

    Whilst the majority of people only associate food wastage with purely a financial cost, the sad truth is there is a significantly higher environmental cost involved. When we discard food, we are also wasting the water, energy and resources required to grow it and transport it to us. The discarded food ends up in landfills where it rots amongst other organic matter and creates and releases the greenhouse gas methane. What most people do not know is that methane is 23 times more harmful than the CO2 pollution from your car exhaust.

    Whilst this may all seem trivial, think about it this way (Source: Foodwise & UNEP):
    • It takes 2400 litres of water to produce one hamburger
    • Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase – this equates to 1 out of every 5 bags of groceries you purchase
    • Up to 40% of the average food waste in household bins is food
    • An estimated 20 – 40% of fruit and vegetables are rejected before they reaches the shops, because they do not match the supermarkets' and consumers’ high cosmetic standards
    • If you add up all the food Australia wastes each year, it is enough to fill 450,000 garbage trucks. Placed end to end, the convoy would bridge the gap between Australia and New Zealand over three times
    You might be thinking, what does this have to do with the price of peanuts? But the scary truth is that if we do not mend our wasteful ways, our children will grow up seeing a very different Australia to the one we know and love. We should each take pride in saving our planet, be wiser with food and try to eradicate food wastage both at work and at home.


    Here’s a few easy suggestions:
    • Have a meal plan and write down a shopping list of what you need before you go shopping. Remember to take into account what you have in the fridge, freezer and pantry.
    • If your fruit is starting to look overripe, why not freeze it – frozen bananas make great smoothies and frozen raspberries are a great little snack when you need a sugar kick.
    • If you are cutting carrot tops etc. off your vegetables, why not freeze them and use them to make stock?
    • If your vegetables and perishable foods are looking like they have seen better days, why not turn them into pasta sauces, curries, baked goods and other meals you can freeze.
    • Freeze bread that you do not think you are going to use and toast it, rather than throwing it out.
    • Leftovers are the new recycling! Use leftovers to make new meals.
    • Buy local, this saves on the carbon footprint of the food you consume.

    Image: Carbon footprint of food wastage

    As George Bernard Shaw once said “there is no love sincerer than the love of food.” He was right; let’s love food and hate waste!

  • 09 January 2011 2:21 PM | Anonymous member

    Resources on Sustainable Food

    Ethical consumer guide

    The Ethical Consumer Group is a community based, not-for-profit network set up to help facilitate more sustainable purchasing practices for the everyday consumer.

    Sustainable Seafood
    An online sustainability guide for seafood consumers in Australia
    Fair Trade Australia Use fair trade coffee, tea and sugar in your office and become a registered Fair Trade workplace
  • 09 September 2010 2:33 PM | Anonymous member

    Procurement Guide: Catering

    • In-house Catering
    • Outsourced Catering
    • Sustainable Suppliers
    • Food Wastage

    Download as PDF


    • Understanding your firms catering needs and how best to manage the supply of catering services.
    • We only have a finite supply of food available to us so it is important to know that we are using sustainable food supplies as much as possible.
    • Food supplies can be transported to us as close as the local market down the road or they can be flown or shipped in from interstate or overseas. It is important to be aware of the carbon emissions involved in the transport of your food supplies.
    • How is your food packaged when received?
    • Food wastage is a global issue, especially within the corporate sector. Are you doing everything you can to minimise your food wastage and therefore managing your catering spend better?


    Identify Requirement

    • We will always have a need to provide catering for our staff and clients, be it internally or outsourced. Do you have a centralised and controlled method of ordering your catering or is this decentralised within your firm?
    • Identify what type of catering do you need to provide - basic amenities, morning teas, sandwiches, fine dining, buffet style, cocktail food?
    • Do you have the appropriate kitchen facilities on-site to prepare and cook your own food using internal chefs / cooks or do you have to rely on outsourced providers for some or all of your catering needs?
    • Do you rely on various suppliers or do you have national / international contracts as part of your procurement management?


    • Like many areas within an office environment, if not managed properly catering can easily be a source of excessive expenditure. It is best to appoint a key person(s) to oversee and coordinate the catering procurement - this may be a Catering Manager or somebody within your catering area but could also be a Receptionist or a central secretary / administrative role. If you have many different people ordering their own catering then this is very inefficient in controlling cost, quality and quantity.
    • Set up simple grounds rules for your catering procurement. Centralise your ordering if possible. Set realistic budgets for catering expenditure for each team or department. Ensure meetings are not held unnecessarily in the early morning or at lunch times so that you can manage the expectation of providing staff with a 'free feed'. Ask staff to bring their own food if necessary.
    • Make sure you are providing the right quality of food to match the occasion. Your morning tea for staff should be basic catering (which will maintain costs) whereby if you are trying to impress clients then consider more appropriate food quality and cost.
    • If planning an event then allow for a slight drop off in numbers so that you don’t over cater.
    • Consider 'donating' any left over food to organisations such as SecondBite. SecondBite help identify opportunities of collecting surplus fresh food and produce and facilitate its safe and timely collection and distribution to agencies and people in need.


    • Review your current suppliers and be prepared to ask them questions about their food supply chain - then be prepared to make decisions based on the following criteria;
    • is it locally sourced? This reduces carbon emissions and supports local businesses
    • is it seasonal? Many foods are now produced all year round which means the use of heating and cooling methods which increases carbon emissions
    • is the food sustainably caught? For example certain fish stocks are now very low globally. Try and use certified fishing practices such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
    • is the food GM free? All organic foods are GM free.
    • how is the food packaged when supplied? Is the packaging bio-degradable
    • Consider purchasing the following;
    • Fair Trade goods
    • Organic food or food from good farm management practices
    • Free range poultry and eggs


    • Ask your suppliers questions and make decisions based on their answers - don’t be afraid to challenge or change your suppliers if you feel this is necessary.
    • Manage your food waste proactively - the best way to manage waste is to avoid having any in the first place
    • Small steps - change can take time so be patient
    • Communicate and promote any changes to staff and highlight the reasons why the changes were made. Seek any feedback from them also.

    Further Information

    Prepared by 
    Jason Molin
    Operations Manager
    Clayton Utz

© 2018  |  Australian Legal Sector Alliance Limited  |  ABN 84 149 507 577  |  8 Exhibition Street Melbourne VIC 3000     |  T: 0407 676 575

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software