Assorted vegetables, fruits, and eggs with a small sign in the middle that says meal plan.

Love Food, Hate Waste

Canadians are throwing out more food than they realize – food that could, at one point, have been eaten!

Wasting food means we are wasting the resources used to grow, produce and distribute that food to consumers. Getting food from farm to table, and then managing or disposing of food as waste, also has a significant carbon footprint – contributing to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Canada’s 2.3 million tonnes of avoidable household food waste is equivalent to 6.9 million tonnes of CO2 and 2.1 million cars on the road!

Diverting food waste to composting is better than sending it to a landfill but preventing food from being wasted in the first place is an even better way to lessen our impact on the environment. Strathcona County residents are throwing away around 2,200 tonnes of food a year, and much of it is still perfectly edible. Every tonne of household food waste that is avoided is the equivalent of taking one car off the road each year.

The good news is that this problem is solvable. If we all start using up the food we buy, together we can make a big difference. We’re asking people to start by making just one small change.

Love Food Hate Waste Canada offers simple steps to reduce food waste, from storing food so it stays fresh to using up leftovers to meal planning. Meal planning is a great way to take the stress out of the question “what’s for dinner?” while saving time, money and reducing waste.

Some simple tips to get started:

Take stock.

Before you head to the store, take a look at what you have in your pantry and fridge. Buying staples and then finding out you already had them, quickly adds up in cost.  These items are also more likely to go to waste. Make a note of anything expiring soon: having an “eat me first” drawer is a great starting point for your meal plan.

Need a sticker? Email for yours today.

Image of a strawberry with a bite out of it on a white background with the text 'take a bite out of food waste, eat me first'.

Make a plan.

Once you know what you have and what you need, it’s time for a plan. Make it a habit to spend 30 minutes a week planning out your meals. Look for ways to use the same ingredient in several different recipes. If a pasta recipe calls for a handful of spinach, use the rest of the bag to make a salad the next night.

Use these handy guides to help you:

Find more tips from Love Food, Hate Waste.

Shop smart.

Check the local flyers while making your meal plan to take advantage of sales. Bring reusable grocery and produce bags to cut down on single-use plastic bags. Buying staples like rice and flour from bulk stores is another great way to reduce packaging waste.

Keep it fresh.

Get to know the different areas of your fridge, and where food should be stored to last the longest. Keep your fridge at 4 degrees Celsius, and the freezer at -18 degrees Celsius. Check for foods that are expiring soon and keep an 'eat me first' bin.

Don't overfill your fridge! It prevents the cold air from circulating.

  • Freezer: frozen fruits and vegetables, meat, bread, sauces and leftovers
  • Top shelf: leftovers, drinks, herbs and ready-to-eat foods
  • Middle shelf: eggs and dairy
  • Bottom shelf: raw meat, poultry and fish
  • Crisper drawers: fruits (low humidity), vegetables (high humidity)
  • Door: condiments, juices and water
  • Do not refrigerate: tomatoes, potatoes, onions and squash

Find more tips from Love Food, Hate Waste.

Use it up.

More than 60% of the food we throw out or compost could have been eaten. Stale bread makes great breadcrumbs. Odds and ends of vegetables with the bones from a rotisserie chicken can be used to make stock. Fresh herbs can be chopped and frozen with some olive oil in an ice cube tray. Soft fruit still tastes great in smoothies.

Use an “eat me first (738.0 KB)” bin. Need a sticker?
Email for yours today.

Find more tips from Love Food, Hate Waste.

Level up.

You can have variety in your meals each day and still use the leftovers. Cook once and eat twice by planning meals that build on each other. Leftover roast beef makes delicious lunch sandwiches, and leftover rice is a great filling for wraps.

Supervisor, Waste Diversion Outreach Programs
Erin Wildeboer
Phone: 780-416-6784

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Last updated: Thursday, October 20, 2022
Page ID: 50381