On Thursday, May 7, Metro Vancouver announced the launch of a three-year campaign to reduce the amount of avoidable food waste residents are generating in their households. The goal of the campaign is to reduce household avoidable food and liquid waste by 10% by the year 2018.
“Over half of all household food waste in Metro Vancouver is avoidable,” said Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Committee Chair Malcolm Brodie. “To put it into perspective, that’s 80,000 potatoes, 26,000 bananas, 70,000 cups of milk, and 32,000 loaves of bread wasted every single day in our region.” “The problem is that people prepare or buy too much food without a plan for eating it.”
Metro Vancouver’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign is modelled on WRAP United Kingdom’s successful initiative of the same name. Since its launch in 2007, avoidable household food waste was cut by 21 per cent over five years, saving UK consumers £13 billion.
“Rather than invent a campaign from scratch, we believe that working with WRAP UK to replicate their proven program here in Canada makes sense and is cost-effective,” said Director Brodie.
Do One Thing Differently
The campaign’s initial focus will be “Do just one thing differently”. The tips and storage sections of the campaign website will offer simple and practical steps households can take to immediately reduce avoidable food waste. This includes storage tips for extending freshness, five-day menu sets to help people plan their meals and shopping lists, portion calculation to determine how much of each ingredient to buy, and explanations about what ’best before’ dates really mean.
‘Avoidable’ food waste includes discarded food and liquids that were edible at some point prior to disposal. Examples include unused bread, wilted vegetables, and the excess food scraped off plates at the end of a meal, rather than unavoidable waste such as fruit and vegetable peelings, bones, egg shells, and other inedible waste created during from food preparation and consumption.
Tackling Drain Damage
To prepare for the campaign, Metro Vancouver conducted baseline research to determine the extent of waste as well as people’s attitudes toward food. This research included detailed kitchen diaries from 500 representative households around the region, and 80 random compost and garbage bin inspections.
In addition to reducing food waste in the region, Metro Vancouver also hopes to educate residents about the damage and costs incurred from using our drains like garbage cans.
“From the research undertaken, Metro Vancouver for the first time has data on what’s going down kitchen sinks, garburators, and toilets,” said Darrell Mussatto, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Utility Committee. “We would also like to stop food waste from going down the drain or being flushed away.”
For more information, including menus, recipes, food storage tips, and facts about shelf life and best before dates, visit the Love Food – Hate Waste website:
You can also follow the campaign on social media at: