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Food Waste

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Canadians are throwing out more food than they realize – food that they could have eaten!

Inevitably, some food waste is unavoidable – this is the food that can’t generally be sold or eaten, such as bones, vegetable peelings, egg shells, tea bags, and coffee grounds.

Avoidable food waste is the edible food that ends up in the composter, green cone or garbage. Unfortunately, we often waste good food because we might buy too much, cook too much, forget about it or don’t store it correctly.

In 2022, the National Zero Waste Council researched household food waste in Canada, and the results were astonishing.

  • 63% of the food Canadians throw away could have been eaten.
  • For the average Canadian household 140 kilograms of food is wasted per year – which costs more than $1,300 per year!
  • For Canada as a whole, that amounts to almost 2.3 million tonnes of edible food wasted each year, costing Canadians in excess of $20 billion!
  • All types of food are wasted, but in Canada the most prominently wasted foods by weight are:
      • Vegetables: 30%
      • Fruit: 15%
      • Leftovers: 13%
      • Bread and Bakery: 9%
      • Dairy and Eggs: 7%

To put that in perspective, every day in Canada we waste:

  • 130,000 heads of lettuce
  • 1,300,000 tomatoes
  • 2,600,000 potatoes
  • 650,000 loaves of bread
  • 1,300,000 apples
  • 640,000 bananas
  • 1,000,000 cups of milk
  • and 470,000 eggs

Why Does Food Waste Matter?

The Province of Ontario is shifting to a circular economy. A circular economy is a system in which materials are never discarded, but reused or recycled into new products and reintegrated into the market.
Managing our resources more effectively will benefit Ontarians, our environment and the economy. It will help the province fight climate change and achieve its goals of a zero waste future with zero greenhouse gases from the waste sector, as set out in the Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy, released in February 2017.