Stop Food Waste

Untitled-1Nancy Wales CSJ

By the Numbers 

It is a startling fact that household waste accounts for an overwhelming 40 % of food wastage.[1] Every year, $27 billion worth of food finds its way into garbage cans, compost bins and giant dumpsters.[2]

Multiple Losses

Food waste causes more losses than one would first think. It has both an environmental and economic impact. On the economic side, when people toss food, all the resources to grow, transport, produce and package it also get chucked.[3] When food is thrown out, massive volumes of water and high amounts of energy resources get lost too.[4] While composting is good it shouldn’t be seen as the perfect solution. Trashed food in landfills environmentally impacts our planet by creating large amounts of greenhouse gases.

Why So Wasteful?

Why we are so wasteful is alluded to in an article by Rosanna Tamburri. She explains: “Food waste can be blamed, in part, on our consumer eating and shopping habits.”[5] David Sparling of Ivey Business School states, “We’re pretty spoiled in expecting perfect food all the time.”[6] Home cooks frequently do little meal planning and often purchase more items and bigger quantities of food than are required.

What Can Be Done?

Meal Planning

One should begin meal planning by adopting the wise habit of performing an inventory of what is already on hand. Checking cupboards, fridge and freezer avoids duplication and waste. The website  is one of many recipe sites. It offers a recipe search organized by recipe type, food type and ingredient and offers a quick way to create delicious meals with grocery items on hand.

Storage Savvy

  1. An interesting article from David Suzuki’s Queen of Green section begins to outline ways to sharpen our food storage skills to lessen food waste.
  2. Take produce out of airtight wrappings which speed up the decaying process.
  3. Don’t wash produce until ready to use. Moisture encourages decomposition and mould growth.
  4. Eat the most perishable items first.
  5. Keep produce whole as long as possible. Once living cells are broken, microorganisms start to grow.
  6. Know the right storage conditions. Some produce is cold-sensitive, so refrigeration speeds up spoilage.

Five Ways to End Food Waste [7]

  1. Understand best-before labels on food products in Canada reflect the date after which the nutritional content on the item is no longer reliable. It doesn’t mean the product in question has turned bad.[8]
  2. Buy in bulk with caution. If you buy more than you need and throw away food you haven’t saved you actually wasted food, money and other resources.[9]
  3. Think twice before tossing overripe fruits and veggies. A squishy banana is ideal for banana bread, overripe fruits can be used in smoothies and wilted and cooked veggies can be added to the soup pot.[10]
  4. Learn to love your leftovers.[11] Some meals are even tastier on day two.
  5. Make use of your freezer by pre-portioning items such as meats into smaller portions when you get home from the grocery store rather than stuffing everything into the fridge.[12]


Are You a Food Waster?

Find out whether or not you are a food waster? To find out, take the short quiz at


  1. Food Waste : An unappetizing, $27B problem” by Jennifer Bain, Toronto Star

[2] “Our biggest problem? We’re wasting food” by Lesley Young, Canadian Grocer

[3]“Help End Food Waste”, David Suzuki Foundation

[4] “Our biggest problem? We’re wasting food” by Lesley Young, Canadian Grocer

[5] “Canadians waste seven billion kilograms of food a year” by Rosanna Tamburri, Globe and Mail

[6] David Sparling, at UWO’s Ivy Business School

[7]  Five Ways to End Food Waste on the David Suzuki’s Foundation website

[8] Pascal Theriault,, a Canadian agricultural economist

[9] “Words To Live By” by Rosenbloom

[10]“Ways to reduce household food waste’, Andre Mayer-CBC News

[11] 5 Sure ways to save money on your food bills  at

[12] John Williams, a partner at retail consultancy JC Williams Group