Food waste reduction

Edible food doesn’t belong in your green cart

About 40 percent of the food we throw out is still good to eat. This works out to approximately $112/month! Keeping edible food out of the green cart is good for our pockets and the planet combined.

Did you know that you can eat foods after the best-before date has passed? The food is still safe to eat but may have lost only a fraction of its freshness or flavour.

Where food is wasted in Canada’s food value chain

This problem isn’t just in restaurants and grocery stores. Nearly half (47 percent) of all food waste occurs in our homes.

Where food is wasted Percent
Consumers 47 percent
Processing 20 percent
Retail stores 10 percent
Farm 10 percent
Restaurants and hotels 9 percent
Transport distribution 4 percent
International catering waste 1 percent

Source: $27 billion revisited – the cost of Canada’s annual food waste, VCM International, 2014)

What can we do to reduce food waste?

  1. Keep it fresh
  2. Use it up
  3. Plan it out

Keep it fresh

  • Eat older and more perishable food items first. Tip: create an ‘EAT ME FIRST’ shelf in your fridge.
  • Set fridge to a maximum of 40 degrees celcius and freezer to -18 degrees celcius
  • Take produce out of plastic bags. Airtight wrappings speed up their decay.
  • Don’t wash produce until you’re ready to eat it. Moisture speeds up decomposition.
  • In your fridge crisper:
    • Keep fruits in one drawer and vegetables in the other.
    • Use the adjustable levers on crisper drawers to change humidity levels – set the vegetable drawer to high humidity (closed) and the fruit drawer to low humidity (open).
  • In your freezer:
    • Divide large packages into smaller portions and freeze.
    • Freeze extra food such as bread, meat and leftovers.
    • Freeze food up to 24 hours before its best before date.

Use it up

  • Use up leftovers.
  • Search online for ways to use up food in your fridge. Turn your vegetables into soup; your fruit into smoothies.
  • Serve kids smaller portions to start. You can always offer seconds.
  • Involve kids in the kitchen. They are more likely to eat what you serve.
  • The best before date tells you when an unopened product might start to lose its flavour, texture and nutritional value – not that it’s unsafe to eat.

Plan it out

  • Before shopping, look at what you already have.
  • Make a meal plan and shopping list. A little effort upfront will save you time and money later on. New to meal planning? Check out these online apps:
  • Plan to serve leftovers.
  • Don’t shop hungry.
  • Only buy ‘family size’ packages or ‘buy one, get one free’ items if you’re sure you’ll eat all the food.
  • Don’t over-buy perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Content courtesy of Metro Vancouver and Peel Region.