Reducing Food Waste

Food loop for consumers

Did you know?

In the average Canadian household, one in four produce items gets thrown in the garbage. That’s like throwing away $600 a year!

Whether it’s limp celery, mushy tomatoes or long-lost leftovers in the back of the fridge, chances are you’ve wasted food this week – and you’re not alone. 

When we throw away food, we’re also wasting all of the water, energy and other resources used to produce, package and transport food to our plates.

Food is wasted when we:

  • Buy more than we need
  • Store it incorrectly
  • Throw away leftovers
  • Cook too much

Are you a food waster? Take this QuizReducing the amount of food waste is a way to be socially and environmentally conscious while also watching your wallet.

Top Tips to Reduce Food Waste

1.  Shop Smart: Think before you shop - more than a third of people go shopping without a list.

  • Check what you have at home before you shop.
  • Make a list and stick to it - it saves time and money. It's costly waste if you don't consume what you buy, even if it was on sale.
  • Shop with meals in mind - you’ll end up throwing less away.
  • Start saving time and money with meal planning tools. Visit Love Food Hate Waste for recipes and weekly menu sets.

2. Use or Lose Your Food. 60% of us end up throwing away food because it is passed its ‘use-by’ date.

  • Plan your meals with the ‘use-by’ date in mind - it will save you money. 
  • Know your fridge - keep an eye on what’s inside. Be mindful of the perishable food you have. Add an "Eat me" sign to food getting close to its 'use-by' or 'best before' dates.
  • Trust your senses with 'best before' dates. Many foods such as beans, lentils and pasta, can be safely consumed after their 'best before' dates though their quality, such as flavour, colour and texture, may be decreased.
  • Check out these A-Z Food Saving Tips for the best way to store food from apples to zucchini. 
  • Chop and freeze ageing fruit and veggies for smoothies.
  • Too many greens? Purée them in the blender and freeze in ice cube trays for smoothies or pasta sauces.
  • Droopy celery? Stale chips? Salty soup? Don't give up on that food - check out these 5 ways to revive food.
  • If you're unable to eat food items before they go bad, preserve them through freezing, drying, or dehydrating.

3. Sensible Storage. Befriend your fridge - 70% of our fridges are set at too high a temperature.

  • Store food according to the instructions on pack - leaving food out of the fridge can cut the life of foods like milk, cooked meats and salad by up to 100%.
  • Keep your fridge between 1-5°C - this helps you get the best from your food. If your fridge doesn’t indicate an actual temperature, think about investing in a fridge thermometer.
  • Organize your fridge to make your food last longer. Where you store food in your fridge makes a difference because some parts of your fridge are warmer than others. Keep your food fresh by knowing your fridge storage basics.

4. Love Your Leftovers. More than half of households say that food is thrown away because too much has been cooked. 

  • Using leftovers to make delicious meals is a smart way to ensure you eat everything you buy.
  • Get your portions right and make the most of the food you buy. Try this handy portion planner.
  • Make stock from leftover veggies, vegetable trimmings or a chicken carcass. 

5. Track Your Trash.

  • List everything food-related you throw out over a two-week period. At the end of those weeks, evaluate the list and see how you can reduce the amount you throw away by purchasing and storing better next time.

Learn more about reducing your food waste with these resources:

Local Chef Gregg Van Hierden shares tips for using not-so-fresh fruit:

 

Food Hacks - Shrink Your Waste

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