happy waste reduction week!

Given the City of Winnipeg’s recent garbage collection woes, I’m surprised they aren’t doing more to promote this event. Okay…. I’m not really surprised. The whole switch to this new system has been a bit of a fiasco from the start. Our neighbourhood was one of the first to receive the new bins and there was all kinds of fuss. Having lived in Brandon, where they’ve had these bins for years, I was not fazed. I was annoyed, however, that they rolled them out in March after a winter of piling snow onto the only spot the bin would fit in the back lane. We either had to put the bin in our parking spot or shovel a heap of snow over the fence. If the City had waited six more weeks I think people would have been a lot less upset. But I digress…

One of our New Year’s resolutions this year was to waste less food. I had worked on a major school project in November on fossil fuel use in the food system and was appalled to learn that almost half of food produced is thrown out. Much of that happens during processing, transportation and in the supermarket but lots happens in the home, too. Just think about what is in your fridge right now. How much of it is growing mould? How much of it smells so bad you don’t want to lift the lid off the container? I can proudly say that there is nothing in our fridge that has gone bad, which is true. But I’d also have to say that there is basically nothing in our fridge right now, period.

The 2010 report Food Waste In Canada says that “more than 50% of the $27B in food waste originated from food thrown away in Canadian homes” and that most of that waste could have been avoided. Very roughly, that works out to about $400 per person, per year. Aside from the environmental and social benefits, who wouldn’t want an extra $400 in their bank account? Or in the sock between the mattresses…

We have put a lot of thought and effort into using up food before it goes bad since making our resolution but more importantly, we’ve put more effort into planning what we’re going to eat. An article on the CBC website show 7 ways you can reduce food waste and the David Suzuki Foundation also has a handy tip sheet on ways to store food.


2 thoughts on “happy waste reduction week!

  1. This is something we try and think a lot about. We did a trash assessment at our elementary school and 80% of the trash is food! This drives me crazy. So much of it is untouched from the cafeteria – but there is a theory that you can’t donate it / pass it on etc. I don’t buy it. And am looking into (aside from composting) how we can reduce this… I’ll let you know. xo

  2. There was a change in legislation here a few years ago around food that can be donated. My mom’s church used to donate leftover sandwiches and dainties from funerals to the soup kitchen and now they have to throw it away. So crazy! And composting is good but it’s not enough…. there are so many things that can’t go in the compost bin. Definitely keep me posted on what your school decides.

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