Get Loose this Food Waste Action Week

Food Waste

Did you know that in Canada, 58% of food produced is wasted every year? When food is lost or wasted, the resources that went into producing that food, like soil, water, time, energy, and money, are also lost. Furthermore, disposing of food in landfills creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.  

In Nova Scotia, we do a great job of composting, after all, we’ve been doing it since 1996! However, collecting, transporting, and processing food waste to turn it into compost requires a lot of time and energy. This is just one of the reasons why it’s better to avoid food waste in the first place. According to research conducted on household food waste in Canada by the National Zero Waste Council in 2022, 63% of food waste is avoidable. For Canada as a whole, that amounts to almost 2.3 million tonnes of edible food wasted each year, costing Canadians more than twenty billion dollars.

Food Waste Action Week, which takes place March 18 – 24 this year, is the perfect time to take a stand against food waste and start your journey towards zero avoidable waste. The theme of this year’s Food Waste Action Week campaign, Choose What You’ll Use, promotes the benefits of buying loose fruits and vegetables.

Food waste infographics

According to the National Zero Waste Council research, 45% of avoidable household food waste in Canada is comprised of fruits and vegetables. When it comes to produce, we tend to over purchase, store incorrectly, or forget about it completely. Research has shown that if all apples, bananas, and potatoes were sold loose, we could save 60,000 tonnes of food waste by enabling people to buy closer to their needs. By choosing what is right for you – the size, quantity, shape, ripeness of the fruit or vegetable – you can save money by making the food you have go further and avoid food waste.  

At the household level, individuals can make lifestyle changes and take proactive steps to prevent or minimize their own food waste. Here are six tips to help you start your journey to reducing your food waste:

  1. Plan your meals on a weekly basis. This will also help you avoid impulse purchases.
  2. Always make a shopping list and stick with it. Your shopping list should be informed by an inventory audit of your fridge and pantry.
  3. Use the “First In, First Out” rule to consume your foods. Store newly bought foods with longer shelf lives in the back of your fridge or pantry and consume older foods with shorter expiry first. Find out the shelf life of common foods here.
  4.  Freeze leftovers to consume later or as ingredients for cooking other meals. Canning and drying produce is another way to reduce your waste and preserve your food.
  5. Share your food rather than allow it to end up in the bin.
  6. Get creative. We often waste food because we don’t know what to do with it. Whether it’s a stash of brown bananas, or too much rice from last night’s dinner, food is sometimes wasted when we lack inspiration. Check out this list of creative solutions to the most commonly wasted foods.


Learn more about food waste in Nova Scotia in this WNN video feature, Rude To Our Food: