More than 50 tonnes of food waste was thrown out at Stormont during the three years when the Assembly was not sitting, it has emerged.
Over half of the wastage came in the first year when it was shut due to the political deadlock.
The information was revealed by the Assembly Commission after enquiries from People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll.
Between January 2017 and January 2020, a total of 54,347kg of food waste was disposed of.
This included 33,302kg in 2017, reducing to 13,286kg in 2018, 7,024kg in 2019 and 735kg in the first month of this year.
The Assembly was restored after the New Decade, New Approach agreement in January.
Mr Carroll said the figures seemed "quite excessive" for a time when the Assembly did not sit and many staff and MLAs were not regularly in the building.
"There are unexplained spikes throughout the three-year period when Stormont didn't sit and I think we should have an explanation as to why this occurred," he said.
"Stormont has given its support for a climate emergency and I hope the Assembly on the back of these figures adopts a practice of significantly reducing food waste and dispersing of any food waste in a way that protects the environment and doesn't bring increased and unnecessary carbon emissions."
James Orr from Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland said the figures should now prompt a closer scrutiny of waste management.
"That's a colossal amount of waste being generated, it's very disappointing," he said.
"From our point of view, at a time of increasing poverty in Northern Ireland and when we need to focus more on our recycling the Stormont system has been caught with their noses in the trough.
"This should really be a wake-up call for politicians to show leadership in reducing food waste, but also in reducing poverty and improving recycling."
Mr Orr added that while recycling figures had greatly improved in Northern Ireland over the last 20 years, there was still room for improvement.
All of the food waste generated in Stormont is directly transported to an anaerobic digestion plant where it is processed to produce fertiliser and biogas.
Mr Orr said, however, it would be more environmentally friendly to use as much food waste as possible for compost.
"We just really need to increase our recycling and stop producing unnecessary food in the first place." He added: "What this story highlights is the wider problem in society where we are consuming and wasting far too much food."
An Assembly spokesperson said: "The Assembly continually seeks ways of reducing and minimising food waste throughout Parliament Buildings."
He added: "During the period between 2017 and 2020, Parliament Buildings continued to be open for MLAs, their staff, Secretariat staff and visitors.
"Dining outlets, including the Blue Flax restaurant and the Members' Dining Room, which was open to the public, continued to function during this time."
The Assembly collapsed in January 2017 after a row over the RHI green energy scandal.