The Food Waste Problem

Households in the Metro Vancouver region generate about 190,000 tonnes of food waste every year. Over half of that, just over 100,000 tonnes, is food, liquid and dairy waste that could have been consumed. Reducing that waste is key to meeting Metro Vancouver’s waste diversion targets as well as our goal of a 10 per cent reduction in per capita waste by 2020.

Food waste adds about $700 a year to each household’s grocery bill, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Costs not factored into our research include inputs like the water, electricity, fertilizer, soil degradation and labour to produce the food as well as the fuel to transport that food to global markets.

Did you know in 2014 47% of Canadian food waste is generated from the consumer level? It means Canadian households are responsible for a significant amount of food waste that we produce every year. And here is how you can help to minimize our food waste problem.

  • Plan out your food purchase, check your inventory, do not over purchase which ends up producing unnecessary waste.
  • If you have a smaller family and purchase a large “family pack” food item, store unused portions in your freezer right away.
  • Don’t assume there is always advantage to buy in bulk. Excess quantity means unused food will be thrown away and so do money you tried to save when purchase in bulk.
  • Be smart about expiration dates.
  • Plan your meals and cook appropriate portions, there is no reason to cook for 8 while you are only serving a dinner for 6.
  • Consider bringing left-over food for lunch. Left-over food is a free and healthier choice compared to take out food.

We can minimize our food waste with a responsible and well thought out food management plan – saving your wallet and saving our environment. The Love Food Hate Waste campaign provides residents with simple steps they can take to use more of the food they purchase:

  1. Share Your Ideas
  2. Menus and Recipes
  3. Food Storage Tips

Disposing of Oil and Grease?

Pouring oil and grease down the drain can cause problems in residential and municipal pipes; it will eventually clog the system and lead to backflow problems. Metro Vancouver and municipalities in the Lower Mainland spend more than $2 million per year removing grease from the collection system, including grease clogs from city pipes -money that could be spent on public amenities.

Since most of us live in multi-family residential buildings, it is even more important for us to keep our pipes in good shape to avoid long-term maintenance expenses.

Here are few easy steps for you to follow:

  • Wipe up the oil or grease with newsprint or a paper towel, and use your organic waste bin to recycle it.
  • If you cannot absorb the oil or grease in few paper towels, collect your cooking oil in a small container, solidify it in a fridge overnight, and then dispose of it as regular garbage.
  • Large volumes of oil coming from deep fryers are messy and can create odours in any recycling or garbage bins. Put your oil in a container and take it to a recycling depot that collects cooking oil.

For more information please visit Metro Vancouver What to Do With Grease Page.