For the past two decades, the third week of October marks Canada’s nationwide Waste Reduction Week. Organizations and individuals alike come together to celebrate initiatives that curb waste and educate and inspire others on how to do the same. This year focuses on the circular economy, ways to reduce key wastes including textiles, electronics, plastics, and food waste, as well as how to reuse, share, and repair what you have.
Our future and planet depend on us to reduce (and reuse and recycle (or compost)!) our waste every day of the year. Food waste, in particular, is an enormous emitter of greenhouse gases. A 2019 report from Environment and Climate Change Canada found that Canadians waste 79 kilograms (or 174 pounds) of household food every year. Our nation’s 2.2 million tonnes of avoidable household food waste is equivalent to 9.8 million tonnes of CO2 or 2.1 million cars on the road.
The good news is that 60% of the food that goes to waste is 100% avoidable!
Some foods like coffee grinds, bones, shells, and peels aren’t edible and so they’re considered “unavoidable” food waste. Tossing foods like wilted lettuce, ugly carrots or imperfect fruit, or good milk a few days past its best before date are “avoidable” food wastes. In Canada, 1 million cups of milk go down the drain every single day, as well as 470,000 heads of lettuce, 1.2 million tomatoes, and 750,000 loaves of bread to name a few top offenders.