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September 1, 2019 News, Sustainability Tips

Why do we throw away so much of the good stuff?

The average Canadian household wastes $1766 of edible food a year. That’s like throwing away one out of five bags of groceries every time you go to the store.

Facts about household food waste in Canada

  • 63% of food waste is edible (the other 27% accounts for unavoidable items like bones, egg shells, and coffee grounds)
  • 45% of edible food waste is vegetables (30%) and fruit (15%)
  • 13% of edible food waste is leftovers.

Source: Love Food Hate Waste Canada (2018)

Tip: Don’t know when you’ll get a chance to use those veggies or eat those leftovers? Throw them in the freezer and figure it out later!

Why do Canadians waste so much food?

  1. We buy more than we need
  2. We don’t manage and store our food properly
  3. We throw away food that is still edible

What is the impact of wasting food?

  • Wasting food produces carbon emissions (one tonne of food waste produces the same amount of emissions as a car on the road for a year)
  • Wasting food uses land (to deal with the food waste)
  • Wasting food means wasted resources (energy, water, etc. for food production and distribution)
  • Wasting food means excess packaging waste

How does it affect you?

  • Wasting food costs money (the average Canadian household wastes $1766 of food every year)
  • Wasting food wastes time (the average Canadian household wastes 1/5th of their food, which means more grocery shopping, time spent managing spoilt food, cleaning, etc.)
  • Wasting food contributes to climate change (which affects us all)

What can we all do?

Reducing our waste doesn’t have to be hard – there are some easy fixes that will noticeably lower food waste, while saving money and time.

DONT BUY IT

Write a list and stick to it.

  • Don’t impulsively buy items on sale unless they are ones you use every day or at least once a week
  • We often think we are getting a better deal by buying produce in bulk, but oftentimes those items end up going to waste. Don’t buy a bag of lemons and a 500g bar of cheese unless you know you are going to use ten lemons and a lot of cheese.

Tip: Love Food Hate Waste Canada has countless quick fixes and recommendations to decrease the amount of food waste your household produces

MANAGE IT

Keep a list on the fridge of all the perishable items that need to be eaten.

  • Makes it easier to use up what you have
  • Reminds you what items are in the fridge
  • Prevents you from grocery shopping and buying doubles

Taking ten minutes a week to write out what you have in your fridge can have a huge impact on how much food you waste.

UNDERSTAND IT

Make sure to understand the reason for throwing an item away (such as food date labels)

Best-before date: An indication of optimal freshness, flavour, nutritional content and texture – not an indication of food safety.

Expiration date: Used for very specific foods with strict compositional and nutritional specifications (i.e. formulated liquid diets, meal replacements). Canadian Food Inspection Agency advices people to throw out items that are past the expiration date.

Use-by date: An equivialnt to ‘best-before date’, specific to pre-packaged fresh yeast.

Other date markings, including ‘sell-by’, ‘prepared on’, ‘freeze-by’, and ‘manufactured-on’, are volunteary date markings that retailers may provide to be useful to customers, as long as they are not misleading.

KEEP IT SEASONAL

Don’t miss out on one of the most bountiful seasons of the year!

apples beans blueberries
broccoli cabbage carrots
cauliflower celery corn
cucumber garlic grapes
kale leek lettuce
melons onions pears
plums parsnip peppers
pumpkin radishes spinach
squash strawberries swiss chard
tomatoes turnips zucchini

UPCOMING EVENTS BY UNA SUSTAINABILITY

Community Yard Sale 

  • Saturday, October 5
  • 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Wesbrook Community Centre

Clothing Fix-it and Swap-It 

  • Sunday, September 29
  • 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Wesbrook Community Centre

ARTICLE SOURCES

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