Did you know that almost half of all fruits and vegetables grown in Australia don’t make it off the farm because their skin is blemished or they’re of “imperfect” size? That’s a lot of produce going to waste – produce that could be turned into, say, fresh juice.
For Purpose Co, an offshoot of Australia's leading food rescue charity Oz Harvest, has launched Australian-first Juice for Good vending machines to combat waste. Dotted around Sydney, the machines are stocked with oranges turned down by commercial buyers, and since arriving in Sydney in September last year, close to eight tonnes of less-than-optimum-looking oranges have been turned into juice.
“Supporting local Aussie farmers is essential to our social business,” a For Purpose Co spokesperson told Broadsheet. “We source oranges that might be rejected due to blemishes on the skin or imperfections – oranges [that] are not ‘orange’ enough in colour and have a tinge of green or have bruises and scars. Instead of these going to waste, we use them in our vending machines.”
The machines squeeze oranges “in front of your eyes” across Sydney, with the first juicers already churning out juice in Darling Square, Market Street in the CBD, Birkenhead Point in Drummoyne, The Cannery in Rosebery and Oz Harvest’s headquarters in Alexandria. The group plans to roll out 18 machines across the state this year, with an ultimate aim of 50 in NSW and even more across the country.
One cup of juice (320 to 370 millilitres) from the vending machine, which will set you back $4, will achieve the trifecta of supporting Australian farmers, helping out those experiencing food insecurity and cooling you down on a hot summer’s day. All profits are put towards Oz Harvest projects such as food rescue, education, engagement and innovation. Last year the organisation reached a milestone of 100 million meals made using surplus food that would have otherwise ended up in the bin delivered to people in need.
It's not dissimilar to Das Juice in Redfern, which opened late last year selling juice, smoothies and poké bowls. It too has an ethical mission to save “ugly” produce from landfill – all the stuff deemed unfit for the uniform grocery produce displays.
Those who want a freshly squeezed orange juice can pay using cash or tap and go, and plans are in the works to accept payment by QR code in the future.
For more information visit forpurposeco.com.