Food fighters face facts on food waste

25 May 2021

Potatoes the size of human heads and pallet loads of beer that were going to be poured down the drain were just two of the startling food waste stories that 13 future leaders were faced with in Adelaide earlier this month.

Charged with reversing Australia's food waste scandal' the 13 participants from seven different universities across Australia' attended the three-day research and industry retreat as part of the Fight Food Waste CRC.

As part of the retreat' the group' which included three CQUniversity students' met with industry giants such as Peter Wadewitz who is one of the founders of Pete's Soil and Compost – an Australian commercial composting industry that is now going global.

Head of the Future Leaders Program' CQUniversity Associate Professor Olav Muurlink' said the students were provided with a 360-degree view of food waste at Pete's Soil and Compost operation' giving them an extraordinary insight into everything from recycling the plastics that are dumped with household food waste to turning waste into fuel that powers the company's trucks.

"The research team also got to tour the impressive SA Potato Company and gain insights into the high standards that Australian consumers apply to their food - so high that waste becomes almost inevitable."

The three-day retreat was part of the Future Leaders Program' a program designed to support masters and doctoral students through their food waste-fighting research projects. This activity was co-hosted by Associate Professor Tangerine Holt' working with Big Four accounting firm KPMG.

"This was a project that wasn't just good for the future of Australia's food waste industry' but also for the health of the students themselves'"

Assoc. Prof. Muurlink said.

"The students are all high performers' but they had been largely studying from home in isolation' and while we had been working together by Zoom it was hugely refreshing for them to come out and meet each other' and get a chance to share their projects' and form research alliances over a meal."

CQUniversity is a proud research partner in the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre.

The Fight Food Waste CRC is funded by the Australian Government's Department of Industry' Science' Energy and Resources as part of the CRC Program that supports industry-led collaborations between industry' researchers and the community.