Earth Day 2024: How Can We Make a Difference?

This year, Earth Day’s global theme is Planet vs. Plastics, and plans to encourage all groups of people across the world to contribute to the end-goal of reducing plastic production by 60%, by the year 2040.

Plastics are heavily associated with food packaging, and single-use plastics and food wastage are major causes of concern for the environment and our livelihoods.

Australians waste up to about 7.6 million tonnes of food on an annual basis, which can be up to 312kg a person. As a result, this waste accounts for 3% of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, most food packaging has been designed to be single use, and therefore it cannot be recycled. RMIT-led research found contributing factors such as:

  • Unsuitable packaging sizes,
  • Poor purchasing habits, and
  • Date label confusion,

Have all contributed to the nation’s food waste.


OzHarvest is Australia’s leading food rescue organisation, and was founded in 2004 by Ronni Kahn AO, after she had noticed a huge volume of food going to waste at her events business.

The goal of OzHarvest is to prevent good food from going to waste and delivering it to charities that help feed people in need. They have yellow vans that frequent local communities daily, collecting a quality surplus food from a network of donors, including supermarkets, cafes, delis, restaurants, corporate kitchens, airlines hotels and other food businesses.

OzHarvest operates nationally, with offices in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Canberra, Melbourne, Newcastle, and Perth, through a team of passionate volunteers in regional communities.

Alongside this, OzHarvest also host educational programs about advocacy work, to help inspire and educate people about food waste, food security and sustainability.

For every $1 donated to OzHarvest, they are also able to deliver two meals to people in need.

And, by encouraging Australians to change their behaviours when ideologies when it comes to food waste, OzHarvest hopes to reach the target of halving the amount of food wasted by 2030.

How Coffey Testing Are Contributing

Coffey Testing has opted to do a nation-wide Food Swap, not only increasing the amount of single use plastics produced for food packaging, but also looks at reducing the costs and impacts on the environment that non-perishable food items in cans and tins can have.

This in turn, allows for less food purchased in single-use packaging, cuts costs affiliated with food waste, and manufacturing of single-use packaging, and makes people think twice about what they’re buying when they are doing their regular grocery shopping and how it will impact our planet.

Whilst this is a small step, through encouraging our staff from across Australia to participate in this Food Swap, Coffey Testing hopes to educate staff on the impacts that single-use plastics and food wastage has on the economy, the environment, and our livelihoods.

How Else Can We Make a Difference?

There are also other ways that everyone can contribute to reducing food waste and prevent the purchasing of single-use plastics and packaging. Whilst they may seem small, they will make the world of difference!

  • Check your fridge before you shop, and only buy what you need.
  • Plan your meals – It not only saves time, but it also reduces the overall cost of your shop.
  • Check the date labels and know the difference between ‘Use-by’, ‘Best Before’, and ‘Display Until’.
  • Use leftovers and get creative with your next meal, and
  • You can also ask for a takeaway bag when eating out and take the rest home with you.