Canadians dispose of nearly 2.2 million tons of edible food each year. Not only is this a waste, but it costs Canadians more than $17 billion annually, and is bad for the environment.

So how can we produce less food waste, save money, and be more environmentally conscious? Small changes can have a big impact if we work together.

Here are seven considerations for grocery shopping, meal planning, and how you dispose of your trash that can reduce the waste leaving your kitchen.

Bulk and freeze

Large-scale purchases are a great money saver. Some fresh foods that freeze well include nuts, seeds, ginger, garlic, cheese, citrus fruits, and spinach. Buying in bulk and freezing is a great way to enjoy seasonal produce year-round. Chop up root vegetables in the fall, or pick berries in the summer – then freeze them for use when they’re not locally available.

Don’t fret a few flaws

If produce starts to turn before you’ve had a chance to use it, make a fruit smoothie instead of tossing it in the trash or compost. You can also add aging veggies to a soup stock, then puree it for a rich broth.

Speaking of soup...

If you’re a meat eater, you may already know that using the bones from your chicken or steak can make a very flavourful broth. Instead of throwing away bones once the meat is eaten, either freeze them for another day, or toss them in a pot with water and aromatics for a delicious soup starter. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, roast the bones before building the stock for a deeper and more complex-tasting broth.

Build a mini garden

Do you find yourself buying the same herbs over-and-over – and watching them spoil in the crisper before you can use them? Unfortunately, many fresh herbs tend to turn quickly, making it hard to get the most out of them. Creating a small herb garden in warmer temperatures, or even an indoor one during the winter months is easier than it seems, and can improve the taste of all your meals!

Store them solo

Some produce gives off a natural gas that can actually speed up the aging process of other foods nearby. Apples, tomatoes and bananas should be stored away from other fruits and veggies to keep them from spoiling as quickly.

Eat the peels

Is it really necessary to peel vegetables before eating them? Not always. Some peels create unnecessary waste, and are packed with vitamins and nutrients. Carrots, cucumbers and potatoes just need a good scrub before consuming or cooking them. Keep those peels out of the waste cycle and capitalize on their nutritional benefits!


Even with all these efforts, you will likely still be left with some food scraps. But they don’t have to meet the landfill. If your community doesn't provide you with a compost bin, you can still create a DIY kitchen compost in a few easy steps, and get egg shells, banana peels, onion skins, coffee grounds and more out of the trash and back into the soil.

Don’t partake in packaging

It’s not just food waste. You might notice a lot of packaging waste, like plastic clamshells, bags and styrofoam trays. Reduce the amount of packaging you throw in the trash by purchasing bulk items, storing in reusable containers, avoiding produce bags, and bringing your own cloth shopping bags. You can also purposely buy food grown locally to minimize packaging and the carbon footprint of shipping.  And if you’re still left with packaging, do your best to ensure it’s recyclable and dispose of it in the right bin.

Minor efforts can have a major impact when everyone takes part. Get your friends and family members on board to start implementing food waste reduction strategies with you, and tell them to pass it on! It can not only save you money, but help reduce landfill and lessen your carbon footprint. One person at a time, we can make a difference.