Together we can develop a culture of refusing to waste
Break the habit of single-use products, consider before purchasing, and look at refusing, reducing and reusing before we get to recycling or land filling. Here are some easy tips you can start doing today to do better for our environment.
- Buy a container once then keep refilling it (liquid soap and condiments).
- Rethink bathroom waste. Use a shampoo bar vs bottle/toothpaste in a jar vs tube.
- Be mindful when making purchases: Do I really need it? How will I use it? How will I dispose of it?
- Use reusable bags beyond the grocery store . Use them at the drug store, clothing store and hardware store too.
- Buy local and unpackaged items. Buy direct at your local farmer’s market.
- When party planning:
- Know your numbers and prepare the right amount of food
- Don’t use disposable materials. Use cloth napkins, and real cups, plates and utensils instead.
- Use leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, or send them home with guests.
- Rent or borrow one time use items, like tools or a vehicle, when possible. There are rental shops and a few lending libraries in Nova Scotia (www.halifaxtoollibrary.ca and www.carshareatlantic.ca).
- Check second hand markets and websites before buying new (Kijiji, Frenchy’s, thrift stores and reuse stores).
- Try to fix items before throwing them away.
- Don’t buy pre-sliced apples and shell-less hard-boiled eggs; nature’s wrapping is good enough!
- Give the gift of time (activities).
Reduce Food Waste
Food waste is a big problem. A recent waste audit demonstrated that food makes up 11.5% of what’s going into Nova Scotia's landfills. This is a strain on our environment—and our wallets. In fact, it is estimated that wasted food costs the average Canadian household $1,100 per year. Let’s do our part to help reduce food waste. Use these tips before, during and after grocery shopping to reduce the amount of food wasted and help you save money!
Before you shop
- Take inventory of what’s in your cupboards and fridge. Note “best before” dates and make an “eat me first” section in your fridge.
- Develop a meal plan for leftovers and foods close to their “best before” dates.
- Make a grocery list based on your meal plan and inventory—consider using a phone app to save paper!
During your shopping trip
- Stick to the list: Don’t shop hungry, check your cart for unnecessary items, and reduce impulse buys by keeping your shopping trips to 40 minutes or less.
- Visit the reduced section for deals on your grocery list items that are close to their “best before” dates (consider freezing them!).
- Get to know your grocery store staff—they may split certain meats and produce into smaller portions and can provide tips on how to best store food.
After you shop
- Store fruits and vegetables properly to ensure they last longer. Remember: Some parts of the fridge are warmer than others!
- Freeze foods to keep them from going to waste—don’t forget freezer labels (like this one) to track what it is and how long it’s been frozen.
- Be creative with leftovers—consider dips, sauces, soups, casseroles, smoothies, and more.
- Be familiar with what “expiry” and “best before” dates mean. Visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website for more information on what date labels actually mean.
If you're interested in receiving printed freezer labels or grocery list notepads, please email us a note and we'll mail you one.
Tips from Nova Scotians
We've received tips from Nova Scotians on how they are reducing food waste at home.
- When buying larger amounts of fish, poultry, meat, etc., we portion these foods in meal size amounts and freeze them. Using a vacuum sealer insures a longer storage life for these foods in the freezer. - James, Stellarton
- If fruit is starting to go bad, freeze it to use in smoothies. - Christine, Halifax
- Partner with a neighbour or friend on bulk/large purchases - save money and waste less!- Jadine, Windsor
- As fresh bread, fruit or veggies get stale or start to soften with age, freeze them to use later. Stale hotdog and hamburger buns can make great croutons or bread puddings. Old bananas when frozen are perfect for banana bread & muffins. Frozen tomatoes & peppers are perfect for sauces & pizza. Too many limes? Slice into wedges, freeze, then use in beverages instead of ice cubes. - Jennifer, Brookfield
- Make a grocery list, stick to it - don't buy more than you need. Plan meals ahead of time and cook just what you need.- Linda, Whites Lake
- Use up a roasted chicken 3 ways- for roast chicken one night, then the next day, chop it up for chicken salad wraps at lunch, and lastly, boil the bones for soup stock.- Therese, Sheburne
- Give excess food items to friends, family or neighbors if you can't eat them before the expiry date. - Alissa, Truro
- Store green onions (and similar veggies) in a glass of water on your counter or windowsill and it will continue to grow new shoots.- Violet, Camperdown
- Save all the ends of your veggies and boil together with onions and then strain to make a broth for soup - Virginia, Yarmouth
- Stews and chili are a great way of using leftover meat and veggies - delicious and flavourful! - Rachel, Halifax
- Instead of wasting things like cheese and bread, I now freeze them and take out as needed. No more stale bread or moldy cheese which I used to have to compost. They keep fresh and I also save money. - Dorothy, Church Point
To share a tip of your own, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Choose one of the tips above and start today. Share your stories and tips on your social media channels and be sure to tag Divert NS. #NothingWasted