Many cities and countries have identified food waste (also sometimes called avoidable food waste or food loss and waste) as an issue. According to a 2014 study conducted by Value Chain Management International, the amount of preventable food waste discarded annually in Canada amounts to over $31 billion in losses, with approximately 47% of food waste produced by consumers.
Wasted food has environmental, economic and social implications. When you waste food that could have been eaten, you are also wasting the natural and human resources that were used to grow, produce, process and transport that food.
Throwing away edible food represents economic losses. The amount of food thrown away amounts to wasting approximately $1,760 annually for a family of four. And the food that ends up in the waste stream requires resources to manage its disposal and diversion, the cost of which is passed on to municipal utilities and services.
Wasted food that ends up in the garbage, and ultimately the landfill, produces methane—a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. It’s estimated that 7% of greenhouse gases produced globally are due to preventable food waste. Some of that wasted food could be recovered through donation programs and used to help address food insecurity, rather than going to waste.
How much of Edmonton’s waste is food/organics?
In 2015 to 2016, Waste Services conducted a four-season characterization study to understand the composition of residential waste. The average Edmontonian’s garbage contains 22 to 26% food waste, based on annual averages.