Food Waste Environmental Impact:
Did you know that over 50% of the food produced in Canada is wasted? When food waste biodegrades (breaks down) in a landfill, it releases a greenhouse gas known as methane which is a major contributor to climate change. In Canada, about 4% of our greenhouse gas emissions are generated from the breaking down of organic matter.
The good news is, we can reduce this by composting!
One of the biggest distinctions between landfills and composting facilities is that composting facilities are aerobic (waste is processed in a way where oxygen is present) whereas landfills are often anaerobic (there is no oxygen). The presence of oxygen does not allow the methane-producing microbes (present in landfills) to exist, thus reducing our greenhouse gas emissions!
As a bonus, compost created from food waste also is full of nutrients that support the production of healthy plants.
Tips to Reduce Food Waste:
We know that composting is better than throwing food scraps into landfills, but an even better first step to reducing your environmental footprint is reducing food waste overall!
Freeze – If you have food that you know you can’t get through in the week, store it in the freezer to extend the shelf life! This works for many fruits and vegetables including spinach, kale, beets, squash, carrots, zucchini, bananas, berries, and cauliflower! From here you can defrost and cook into a soup, stew, or stirfry, or blend into smoothies! It’s also great to store grains like bread, wraps, bagels, and tortillas in the freezer to keep them fresh for months! Did you know you can also store beans in the freezer? If you can’t make it through a can of black beans or chickpeas, store them in the freezer and defrost with some warm water at a later day!
Meal Plan – Plan your meals for the week in advance! This helps only by purchasing what you need, and you can plan recipes with similar ingredients to use up every last bit!
Storage – Check out these 10 tips to properly store your produce to extend its life!
Take common food scraps and turn them into entirely new recipes! Check out these examples below:
5 Unexpected Uses for Food Scraps
Homemade Vegetable Broth from Scraps
Re-Grow Vegetables from Scraps
Recover food that is going off, with these simple hacks.
Fruit- Cut off bruised parts and add to a smoothie or baked good like muffins, pie or crisp.
Herbs – Make herb oil with leftover herbs
Greens – Make a super green pesto with wilted greens
Bread – Chop, and toast to make homemade croutons or blend into breadcrumbs.
Vegetables – Add to a simple pickling brine to make homemade pickled vegetables!
Jar leftovers – If you have bits left in a nut butter or mustard jar, use it to make a homemade salad dressing!
What Can You Compost?
|Animal Waste & Litter||X||✓||X|
|Plastic Marked Compostable or Biodegradable||X||X||X||X|
|Cotton balls, hair, nails, toilet paper rolls||X||X||✓||✓|
|Tea Bags||✓||X (paper tea bags only)||✓||✓|
|Certified Bag||Paper Bags without plastic liners. Bags marked compostable cannot be used||Certified Compostable Food Waste Bags||Bags marked ‘Certified Compostable’||Bags marked BPI/BNQ Certified Compostable, Paper Bags|