Analysis of food waste bins show tens of thousands of wasted food items each day
By Lauren Kelly, News Editor
Metro Vancouver has launched a new food waste campaign called “Love Food, Hate Waste,” in response to large amounts of still edible food being deposited into food waste bins. The program began in the UK and cut down food waste 21 per cent over five years.
Metro Vancouver’s food waste program has been a success, with most people now throwing their food waste into designated bins instead of the general garbage. However, the contents of the food waste bins were surprising, with over half of the contents being edible food instead of mostly scraps.
According to statistics offered by the website, Metro Vancouver as a whole throws out 70,000 glasses of milk, 26,000 bananas, 80,000 potatoes, and 55,000 apples each day. This waste is costing the average family $700 a year.
The campaign’s website has sections that offer recipes, food storage guides and a place for people to share creative tips for not wasting food.
The recipes section contains solitary recipes as well as meal sets, which provide five dinner recipes for the week and a total shopping list for all five. The recipes, for food such as Mediterranean couscous and parmesan chicken, allow users to enter how many adults and children the meal is for, changing the recipe portions automatically and reducing leftovers.
The food storage section gives information about best-before guidelines, as well as the shelf life of common foods after their best before date. On top of this, freezer and shelf guides, as well as general tips are included to help prolong the life of food and not have it thrown away early.
The “Your Ideas” section allows users to share their own innovations for avoiding food waste. In one example of a user submitted tip, Julie D from Coquitlam offers this: “Fresh strawberries mould quickly. Add vinegar to a bowl of water and rinse your strawberries. The vinegar kills the bacteria. Dry with paper towels and store in the fridge. They will keep several days longer.”
The Metro Vancouver communications division manager David Hocking told Consumer Grocer that their goal was to “reduce garbage 10 per cent per capita by 2020,” which includes putting a large dent into the food waste that makes up 35 per cent of our garbage. If Metro Vancouverites take advantage of this wealth of information, that goal may be achievable.