One man’s trash is another man’s lunch

ANIKA MCMAHON

Source: Ben Penhallurick

A Brisbane bin diver’s bounty. Source: Ben Penhallurick

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection reveals Queensland produced 8.5 million tonnes of waste in 2012-2013, with 55% sent to landfill.

Communities are taking matters into their own hands and preventing excessive waste by engaging in the popular activity of ‘bin diving’.

Brisbane bin diver Ben Penhallurick and his friends are working hard to draw attention to the massive amount of waste thrown into landfill. 

“We are hoping to put together a political agenda to draw attention to these massive chain stores that are throwing away a stupid amount of waste that could be going towards feeding people,” he said.

Mr Penhallurick has been living out of bins for a month, hoping to reduce his carbon footprint.

Source: Ben Penhallurick

Source: Ben Penhallurick

“We started off just seeing if we could go for a month without buying any food and just living out of dumpsters, and that is going really well.

We have put on weight,” he said.

A spokesperson from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection stresses the importance of reducing waste.

“It is vital to reduce the amount of waste being disposed of and reusing as much as possible.

Talking to food companies and clothing retailers about direct donations, instead of disposing waste into the bin, may achieve greater long-term benefits as it has the effect of raising awareness as well,” they said.

Supermarket chain Woolworths is actively reducing waste within their stores, aiming to reduce food waste to zero by the end of 2015.

“Woolworths takes the issue of food waste very seriously,” a Woolworths spokesperson said.

The spokesperson revealed that Woolworths collaborates with a number of other organisations to reach their target.

“Where we do have food that is suitable for consumption but is nearing it’s use-by date, we make this available to food charity partners across Australia.

“Where food is not suitable for consumption, we use a number of partners to ensure it is not wasted. In some cases it is used for commercial compost, animal feed including zoos, and even power generation.”

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