What a way to start 2015! On January 1st, Metro Vancouver made it illegal to dump food waste in landfills. Vancouver is leading the country by example: “We encourage food scraps recycling because it’s the right thing to do, it takes waste out of our landfills, it reduces our methane contributions, and it creates compost and bioenergy.” says the City of Vancouver website.
We’re excited to hear that Toronto is currently undertaking a long term waste management strategy for the next 30-50 years: “Development of the strategy will consider options which support waste reduction, re-use, recycling and recovery before final disposal,” says Annette Synowiec, Manager of Waste Management at the City of Toronto. You can learn more, share your thoughts, and get involved by clicking here.
In the meantime, it’s important to make sure that we each watch our own “waste-line” in 2015…And just to be clear, we’re not talking about shedding pounds or body sculpting! CBC recently reported that “more than $31 billion worth of food is wasted every year, and as tempting as it might be to blame waste on farms, supermarkets and restaurants, the reality is that most food waste is produced by you and me. Canadian households are accountable for almost 50% of that food waste:
Why? Well, you’re not the only one who buys fruits and veggies with the ‘best of intentions’ (which become mush at the back of your fridge). There is some “guilt relief” by putting that liquified spinach in the green bin, but let’s talk about ways we could prevent “veggie liquefaction” in the first place. Here are 3 ways to watch your “waste-line” in 2015:
1. Buy Less!
In the average Canadian household, one in four produce items gets thrown out1. As the price of food continues to rise (35% in the last decade) wasted food starts to look more and more like wasted money–as it should. Are you part of a one or two person household? Do you have a Costco membership? Please don’t buy that 6-pack of romaine lettuce! Not only is fresh produce more expensive at Costco, but do you really need six heads of lettuce? Or a huge box or oranges? Yes, it might seem like a good deal, but it’s not if you’re throwing half of it away. “We didn’t renew our bulk shopping membership a couple of years ago,”says Annette Synowiec, Manager of Waste Management Planning at the City of Toronto. “I take stock of what I have in my pantry, and I’ve made a conscious effort to do small-scale grocery shopping…It saves me so much money.”
Be honest with yourself: Do I really have the time or appetite to eat all that food?
So you’ve bought less food, but what do you do with it once it’s in your house? Yes, you eat it. But how do you make that food last longer? “By learning preserving techniques you can learn how to keep that food,” says Toronto’s Joel MacCharles, founder of wellpreserved.ca. In a compelling TED TALK about food preservation, Joel explains that “if you can boil water, you can preserve food.” An even easier technique includes using your fridge effectively. But if you’re not big on glass jars or fridge organization, perhaps paper sounds more appealing to you? Fenugreen FreshPaper helps your fruit and veggies last 2-4 times longer: Their paper is infused with a special blend of organic spices with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. ZooShare supporters get 20% off FreshPaper by using the discount code SHAREFRESH at checkout.
3. Watch This!
“Just Eat It” is a documentary about food waste by Vancouver filmmakers Jen Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin. We had the privilege of watching this film at Hot Docs last year. Now it’s streaming for FREE online thanks to B.C.’s Knowledge Network. Watch it now!
The ZooShare biogas plant will recycle manure from the Toronto Zoo and food waste from Canada’s largest grocery chain into renewable power for the Ontario grid. This process will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of removing 2,100 cars from the road each year, and will return valuable nutrients to the soil in the form of a high-quality fertilizer. To build this project, we are selling bonds that earn a return of 7% each year for 7 years.
1. “Five Ways to End Food Waste” by David Suzuki’s Queen’s of Green
2. “27 Billion” Revisited: The Cost of Canada’s Annual Food Waste by Dr. Martin V. Gooch, Dr. Abdel Felfel and Caroline Glasbey. December 2014.