New Food Waste Challenge launched to tackle home food waste

by | Sep 5, 2022 | News

Aotearoa’s first ever Zero Food Waste Challenge Week is being launched from September 19-25 to get New Zealanders talking about and tackling food waste at home.


Recent study by KiwiHarvest shows the average Kiwi household throws away at least $1520 worth of groceries every year – that’s a huge amount of money to lose in the bin. That’s about the same as wasting a breakfast, lunch and dinner meal every day for 197 days! The Challenge is pushing for a rethink of how we manage our food, how we view food waste and how a few small changes can make a big difference to our household budgets.

Veronica Shale, Founder of Zero Food Waste New Zealand, says food waste is a problem and an opportunity for nearly every household in the country. “It’s no secret that Kiwis waste too much food and bin it. Sadly, food that is left buried deep in landfills accounts for 10 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions globally. In fact, if food waste was a country, it would be the 3rd biggest emitter of carbon emissions behind the US and China! Collectively our habits are not only then damaging our precious environment, but they’re also costing us a heap of money at a time in which every cent counts for so many of us,” she says.

We’re encouraging every New Zealander to save money and help save the planet with a week of conversation and action to change those habits for good. And it costs you nothing. What’s more, it’s great to start tiny. Tiny changes become mighty. Frankly, it’s time to give food waste the side-eye as we are the plastic bag, single use coffee cups and fast fashion. Food is a precious and expensive resource.

The free Zero Food Waste Challenge has been created by a group of friends fed up with food waste.  The 7-day challenge is to put nothing, nada, nil, zip, zilch, kore, zero food in the bin for a week – or give it a darn good go. ‘Challengees’ won’t be doing it solo. There’s plenty of tips, tricks and tools to help them make the most of their food. ‘Challengees’ will be doing a whole lot of good for the planet and their pocket – and there’ll be prizes and exclusive offers.


The 2022 Zero Food Waste Challenge Week is the inaugural event in what Shale hopes will become an enduring platform to promote awareness and action around tackling food waste as well as bringing together and highlighting the important role that local food rescue charities across Aotearoa play in feeding the 1 in 5 New Zealanders who experience food insecurity.

“New Zealand’s goal is to halve food waste by 2030, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. That’s going to take a behaviour shift from each and every one of us, and we want this change to happen in an atmosphere that’s positive, generous and community driven,” says Shale.

The Challenge is a great chance to introduce New Zealanders to our epic food rescue community who turn an environmental problem into a social solution. In the last year (2021-2022) members of the Aotearoa Food Rescue Association diverted around 10 million kilos from going to landfill, redistributing the equivalent of over 29 million meals to more than 1,000 recipient organisations across Aotearoa to feed people in need, thereby avoiding 20,250 tonnes of Co2 emissions.

While Kiwis tackle food waste at home, they’ll also learn a little bit more about their epic local food rescue charity addressing food waste and food insecurity in their local community, with opportunities to connect with them and contribute.

In addition to supporting the health of the planet and easing the weekly budget, Shale says the Challenge offers participants a boost to their own wellbeing. “Joining this movement offers a renewed sense of wellbeing for whānau who are fatigued and isolated from the community – and who are perhaps confused about what they can do to make a difference to the planet and their pockets. Taking action, big or small, offers a sense of achievement, belonging and along with that, improved mental health,” says Shale. “The Zero Waste Food Challenge is all about doing our bit – one bite at a time. Shopping smart, storing correctly and cooking with care means we’ll have fuller bellies, fuller wallets and a flourishing planet.”

You can sign up at from 22 August 2022.

The Challenge has been made possible with a generous helping from Zero Food Waste Heroes Countdown, a side serving from Zero Food Waste Cheerleaders The 5+ A DAY Charitable Trust and Panasonic Prime+, and inaugural partners Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance.


‘Zero Food Waste, Aotearoa New Zealand’ was created in 2021 by a group of friends fed up with food waste. Started around a kitchen table, this social environmental enterprise creates initiatives that spark collaboration, conversation and change to tackle the climate crisis with hope and a smile. The group can be contacted at:


Hero photo by Conscious Design on Unsplash


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