The Winnipeg Food Council is encouraging residents to rethink how they shop for and store groceries in an effort to divert food from the landfill.
Partnering with Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) Canada, the City of Winnipeg citizen advisory council has launched an online education campaign to promote household food-waste reduction.
According to LFHW, an offshoot of the National Zero Waste Council, the average Canadian household throws out 140 kilograms of edible food annually at a cost of roughly $1,100. Fruit and vegetables make up the bulk of waste.
Tips include planning meals and shopping trips around what you already have at home, keeping food fresh longer by storing it correctly, and using over-the-hill fruit and veg creatively.
"Something like this might have just been seen as hopelessly flaky and fringy, and it isn’t anymore," says Coun. Brian Mayes, chairperson of the Winnipeg Food Council. "If you can do some of these things, that’ll help reduce the amount of garbage and save you a little bit of money."
In Winnipeg, residential garbage rose 12 per cent in 2020 with more people staying home amid the pandemic. Organic waste makes up approximately 40 per cent of household trash and the city is currently engaged in a two-year residential-composting pilot project.
Currently, the city diverts roughly 30 per cent of garbage from the landfill through recycling and yard-waste programs. While Mayes says composting is needed to increase waste diversion, residents can help by creating less waste at home.
"If you want to increase the diversion rate, eventually, it’s going to have to be compost," he says. "Yes, we have, like, 99 years left of life in the Brady landfill; on the other hand, it’s better for the environment if we put less in, we have less methane being produced."
Visit wfp.to/foodcouncil for more information.
Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.
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