Reducing food waste

One of the greatest ways we can help our environment is to reduce the amount of food we waste. Preventing food waste in the first place means that material never ends up having to be managed or ending up in the landfill. Wasting food misuses all the resources that went into making that food including:

  • Water and fertilizer that went into growing the food 
  • Fuel and electricity to harvest, transport and store the food 
  • Land cleared to produce food, destroying habitat

Food waste tips for households

Reducing food waste can help save time and money, here are some easy tips to get you started:

Shop smart

  • Check what you already have at home - do you really need to go shopping today?
  • Plan future meals to buy what you really need, check out: 10 Easy Meal Planning Tips to get started
  • Make a grocery list and stick to it!

Take regular food inventory

Be sure to take regular inventory of the food in your fridge, freezer and pantry. Use up food before it gets too old: 

  • Keep watch of produce which can have a short shelf life
  • Find great recipes to make delicious meals with what you already have

Store food with care

  • Use the “first in, first out” method and place older food to the front so it gets used first
  • Freeze perishable foods that you are not able to use right away. 
  • Know your fridge, some foods store better in certain areas. Where you store food in your fridge matters

Serve smaller portions

You can always go for seconds and save leftovers so you don't have to cook tomorrow...

Use up those leftovers

Pack them for lunch to save time and money with your meal preparation, or turn them into a new meal.

Food waste tips for businesses

When food is wasted, time and money are also lost. Retail food stores and food service in BC lose an estimated $1.3 billion worth of food per year!

The following resources can help your organization save money, protect the environment and improve local food security: 

  • Check out the BC Government's Food Waste Avoidance Toolkits for food service and retail sectors
  • Visit BC Centre for Disease Control's Industry Food Donation Guidelines for businesses planning on making food donations
  • Food Mesh brings donors and recipients together to use up surplus food. The program is currently available in the Lower Mainland and is looking to expand. Interested parties (food suppliers, distributors, processors, retailers, grocers, restaurants, caterers, non-profits, social enterprises and charities) should sign up to show interest in our region on their website

Other resources