Our society wastes a large amount of food each year, anywhere from 30% to 50%, depending upon the study. The waste is at all levels -- farmers' fields, distribution centres, supermarkets, restaurants, individual consumers.
Wasting food wastes energy, soil nutrients, farmland, and the emissions from its production unnecessarily contribute to climate change. In addition, a significant amount of the food waste goes to landfill, rather than being composted, which further contributes to climate change through release of methane gas.
This great PSA video tells the story of food waste in 2 minutes by following the journey of a strawberry.
BurlingtonGreen screened an informative and entertaining film on food waste for its 2016 Eco-Film festival season. Following the film, we provided the tips below on our website. The film is also available online to watch for free...
Just eat it: A Food Waste Story
May 5, 2016
We all love food. So how could we possibly be throwing nearly 50% of it in the trash? Filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. They pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away. More here.
You can now watch the film online for free official film website (74 minutes).
What You Can Do
Inspired by the film? Here's what you can do:
- Spread the word! Talk to family, friends, acquaintances about the issue of food waste. Refer them to the movie, now available in Canada to watch online for free. See link on official film website here.
- Make a conscious effort to only buy food that you know you will eat. Strive to eat all food before it goes bad – a bin in your fridge labelled "Eat first" can help.
- Store leftovers well so they can be eaten before going bad.
- Store food in visible locations so you'll remember to use it before goes bad. Food stashed away in the back of drawers of your fridge can be forgotten about until they've gone bad. Foods like potatoes stored hidden away in a pantry or cupboard can often be forgotten – keep them where more visible (or post a reminder on your fridge door); you'll remember to eat them more often.
- Buy the 'ugly' fruit and produce when shopping. Cut off any bad sections. Buy those smaller ears of corn or ones with a few bad kernels on top that other people pass over. Check out the 'seconds' stand for bargains at your supermarket – bananas for eating or making banana bread, lots of veggies for a stir fry, slightly older produce which is still edible (and possibly half price!)
- If you work in the food service industry, get in touch with a local food bank that may be willing to take your surplus items. Strive to avoid preparing too much food that won't sell.
- If you host a party or event, try to avoid purchasing too much extra food. Only put out on the table what is needed at the time. Keep extra perishables refrigerated until needed so they don't go bad if not eaten, so you can eat them the next day or give them away. Have a plan to get rid of any extra food – avoid throwing it out! Ask people to take extras home with them. Perhaps a neighbour or a local group you know would appreciate a food gift, as long it is still good and has been stored properly – it's always a nice surprise to receive free food!
- And, if you have no choice but to throw it out, please remember to compost it – green cart or backyard composter. Food waste sent to landfill in your garbage decomposes to produce methane gas, which contributes to climate change. On the other hand, compost can be used as a natural fertilizer and reduces dependency on petro-chemical based fertilizers.
- Visit the official film website for more great tips on how you can reduce food waste.
- Visit the What a Waste website to learn more. You can sign a petition to make it illegal for supermarkets to throw out good food and require them to donate it to food banks.
- Check out this new initiative by several Halton area non-profits: Reducing Waste to End Hunger