Canadian food waste case

According to a recent study published by Guelph’s George Morris Centre, 40 per cent of Canadian food is being thrown out instead of being consumed. The study estimates this food represents a value of roughly $27 billion.

Some experts point to a breakdown in communication between different parts of the food industry, where producers and retailers look only at the most cost-effective models, not those which help diminish wasted food. Others emphasize the difficulty of generating funds to address the problem. It’s much harder to track food than other common forms of household waste which are difficult to dispose of, like electronic equipment.

The Star article is also critical of using the green bin. One expert brands the food waste container “a guilt eraser.” He suggests that the green bin convinces people that they’re doing the right thing by keeping the food out of a landfill, when they may simply be disguising waste—transport and delivery of uneaten food still generates pollution. While it’s too strong of a conclusion that the green bin does more harm than good, consumers should be paying close attention to where unwanted food material comes from, and where it ends up.

Food waste is also an issue outside of the home, with restaurants contributing to the problem by offering extra-large portions and all-you-can-eat-buffets.

In many ways, wasting food is an invisible issue. While resources exist to tell people what to eat if they want to lose weight and get healthy, little attention is paid to buying and consuming efficiently.

Individual preferences contribute to this issue as well.Consumers won’t purchase anything but the freshest produce, meaning that cosmetic appeal becomes as important as nutritional value. This means that edible food gets thrown out needlessly.

Similar concerns about appearance and taste turn consumers off of frozen foods, which can be stored longer and are less susceptible to being wasted.

Consumers should be more open to consciously adjusting their purchasing to minimize waste, and making responsible decisions about portion size and consumption.

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