Planning on Throwing Out Your Food? Think Again.
What are the effects of food waste?
Food waste can have economic, social and environmental effects. When food is wasted, it is important to consider not only the loss of that product, but also the resources which went into producing it. The land, water, energy and air which were needed to grow that crop or feed that animal are also wasted when food products are not consumed.46
From an agri-food business perspective, the goal is to reduce inefficiencies wherever possible. Many businesses have started to complete evaluations of their natural resource and input use (fertilizer, chemical, feed, labour, energy, water, etc.).47 These evaluations help businesses create plans to reduce waste and increase both efficiency and profit.
Research is also being done to identify practices and techniques which can help to reduce waste within the food system (e.g. during production, processing, retail, etc.)48. The research findings can then be shared with Canadian agri-businesses to help them increase their financial and environmental sustainability. A toolkit has also been developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to help players across the food system reduce their waste.49
Food Waste at Home
Sixty percent of food waste in the home comes from perishable food not being used before it expires.52 This may be because of confusion with labels and the meaning of a best-before date. This date refers to the point at which a product is at its peak of freshness. Some foods are still safe to eat after the bestbefore date, however freshness, flavour and texture may change.53
4 Tips to Reduce Food Waste at Home55:
- Write a list for when you shop and stick to it.
- Use leftovers, or freeze them, instead of throwing them away.
- Serve small amounts – you can always go back for seconds.
- Start a compost bin to recycle food scraps.