Food Waste 

Grocery store produce aisle next to organic waste in the landfill

What is it?

Globally, one third of food produced for human consumption is wasted every year. An estimated $31 billion worth of food is wasted in Canada every year. Consumers are responsible for just over half of all the food wasted in Canada; the ‘production sector’ -- farm, processing, distribution, retail and foodservice -- generates the other half.  In developing countries, food waste is more likely to happen in the production sector than during consumption 

What is the issue? 

Food waste in landfills produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. In wasting the food, we've also wasted all the inputs that go into that food, including the soil, water, energy, fertilizer, and labour. It takes about 2,500 liters of water to produce the beef for one burger. At the same time, 795 million people in the world don't get enough to eat.  

Where can it go? 

Click to search food waste

The first thing that people should consider is how to reduce food waste. Please see the section below on how to reduce. Consider giving surplus food to family and friends or donating it to food banks or soup kitchens. Also, don't forget about the time-bending power of your freezer! 

Food waste is also compostable. You can compost everything but meat scraps in your backyard. Here's how. 

Very few communities include food waste in their composting programs. Please check our Waste Reduction Hub for details. 

What happens after? 

Food waste that is composted becomes humus which improves soil quality. 

How can I reduce? 

  • Plan your meals in advance so that you only buy what you need. Take a look in your cupboards, fridge, and freezer and make a list of what you need so that you don’t buy things you already have. This will also save you time and money. 

  •  Best before dates refer to quality, not safety. It is fine to eat these foods after this date, they just may no longer be at their best.  

  • Create an "EAT ME FIRST" shelf in your fridge for the food most likely to spoil first. 

  • Nothing is wrong with eating the same thing frequently, especially if it is healthy.