Unfortunately, some food waste is unavoidable. This includes the kinds of food that can no longer be eaten or sold, such as bones, egg shells, and fruit and vegetable scraps. However, much of the food waste generated by households is by and large still edible and thus, avoidable. We tend to throw away good food because we buy more than is necessary, don’t plan our meals and portions appropriately, and don’t properly store perishable food.
In 2022, the National Zero Waste Council carried out research on household food waste across Canada. They found that 63% of the food that was thrown out could have been eaten.
This means that avoidable food waste is costing the average Canadian household more than $1,300 each year! Throwing out food is synonymous to wasting the resources that were used to grow, transport, sell and prepare the food.
In Canada, edible foods that often goes to waste are:
In line with the National Zero Waste Council’s findings on household food waste in Canada, about 2.3 million tonnes of edible food is wasted every year, totalling over $20 billion in costs.
Along with the economic costs, food waste also has significant environmental impacts. Getting food from farm to table, and then disposing the food as waste also has a sizable carbon footprint, which contributes to Canada’s overall greenhouse gas emissions. Food decomposition in landfills releases millions of tonnes of methane, a GHG that significantly contributes to global warming. If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest polluter globally, after China and the United States (Ville de Montreal).
Currently, Canada’s 2.3 million tonnes of avoidable household food waste equates to 6.9 million tonnes of CO2 and over 2 million cars on the road.
Diverting food waste to composting is better than having it landfilled, but preventing food from being wasted in the first place is an even better way to minimize our environmental impact. To put it in perspective, one car is taken off the road each year for every tonne of household food waste that is avoided!
Learn more about food waste in Canada.
Reducing food waste is a priority for the Town. Little changes in your routine could make a big difference in reducing food waste. Here are some things you can do to reduce food waste in your home.
For more tips and tricks on how you can reduce food waste in your home, visit the Love Food Hate Waste Canada website.
You can also visit the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s Food Matters Action Kit for Youth, which is packed with resources and activities to inspire kids of all ages to prevent food waste at home, school and in the community.