You’re eating local, organic, even growing your own food. Make sure you don’t end up throwing out the fruits and vegetables of your hard-earned labour!

Besides being a waste of money, time and energy, unused food that ends up in landfills is one of the main sources of greenhouse gases.

  • Worldwide, food is discarded in processing, transport, supermarkets and kitchens.
  • Many fruits and vegetables don’t even make it onto store shelves because they’re not pretty enough for picky consumers.
  • About 20 per cent of Canada’s methane emissions (a potent greenhouse gas) come from landfills.
  • When people toss food, all the resources to grow, ship and produce it get chucked, too, including massive volumes of water.

Most food waste won’t happen if people take the time to plan better and sharpen food storage skills.

Download our handy tip sheet to help you out:

Download Five ways end food waste

How to not waste food

Meal plan

Take a few minutes to write out a week’s worth of dinners. Start with what’s already on hand. Think about how leftovers can play into lunches, snacks or other meals. Create a grocery list based on your plan.

If you prefer electronic help, there are loads of recipe websites — some even create the shopping list!

Buy the food you need now. Eat the food you planned. You’ll be rewarded with a clean conscience, a healthier planet and a fatter wallet.

Make soup

Veggies make delicious stew, mashed potatoes thicken any stock.

Freeze

Freezing food takes only takes a moment and extends the life of what isn’t getting eaten right away.

Donate

Swimming in leftovers or perishable garden produce? Bring it to your workplace, local food bank or check online to see which charities take food donations.

Create an “Eat-me-first” bin or basket for the fridge

This brilliant, simple tip comes from the Just Eat It movie:

  1. Repurpose a plastic bin or basket
  2. Label it: “Eat-me-first”
  3. Add sad-looking produce and foods approaching their “best before” dates
  4. Find recipes that incorporate bin items

You’ll save money and put valuable nutrients into people instead of into the compost.

It’s simple: See your food and eat your food! (That’s the whole reason you bought it, right?)

Five shopping tips

Pick the first one

This goes for things like dairy items. Don’t reach to the back. Grab from the front.

Pick the last one

Nobody likes to be picked last. Same goes for the lonely head of lettuce on display.

Pick the brown, spotted or crooked ones

Imperfect-looking produce wants to be tasted, not wasted.

Choose overripe produce, sometimes

See that pineapple? It’s going to be mouldy tomorrow. And it came all the way from Hawaii! It’s not organic or local but it’s dumpster-bound unless you buy it.

Choose single bananas

Grab a few single bananas next time instead of choosing a bunch.

Individual action has the power to make a measurable, meaningful difference. Just cutting household food waste in half would immediately save billions.

Queen of Green image that reads: David Suzuki's Queen of Green gives you tips and recipes to live sustainably.